The San Antonio River Foundation (SARF) received a $500,000 gift from Ramona and Lee Bass, a Forth Worth-based philanthropic duo, for use towards the Mission Espada portal art project. Entryways for each Spanish colonial mission on the Mission Reach are undergoing beautification projects headed by SARF to add inviting landscaping and artistic sculptures that reflect the mission's theme.
"The smallest and most charming mission, according to Mrs. Bass, Espada has always been her favorite," stated a SARF press release. "Known as the 'ranching mission,' the story to be told fits perfectly with her family’s ranching heritage."
Ramona, a sixth generation Texan who was recently appointed vice president of The Alamo Endowment campaign, was born and raised in San Antonio and now lives in Fort Worth with her husband, Lee. The couple focus their gifts and fundraising efforts on wildlife conservation and education in Texas, the U.S., and internationally.
"(Ramona) is passionate about history and education and feels that it is extremely important for future generations to learn about and appreciate the connection between the river and the Missions," stated the release.
American environmental artist Mary Miss was selected by SARF to meet with Ramona, representative from the National Park Service and members of the Art and Architecture committee, to create a site-specific sculpture for Mission Espada's portal. Miss has begun to proceed with initial conceptual designs of the portal. See the video below for an interview with Miss about her work "FLOW: Can You See The River?" commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
SARF, a nonprofit established in 2003 by the San Antonio River Authority, continues to create, facilitate, and fund new amenities and programs to restore and protect natural ecosystems in the San Antonio River basin and its tributaries – including the San Antonio River Improvements Project.
*Featured/top image: Ramona and Lee Bass at the Game Warden Training Center dedication ceremony. The Bass' were major donors to the project. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife.