Dixie Friend Gay, a Houston-based artist best known for her public art installations, is bringing her newest work, a 12-by-60 foot mosaic mural to the lobby of the Weston Centre in downtown San Antonio.
The piece, titled “The San Antonio River,” depicts a colorful, lush vegetation and wildlife scene inspired by the area's ecosystem. The mural is made from hand-glazed tiles and will take 18 days total to install.
“The idea behind it is to honor the river,” said Gay. “A majority of the imagery is from the photographs I took right outside of town.”
Many of Gay's installations celebrate nature, but she spent months researching the San Antonio River and looked at many historical photographs to get a sense of what the area's topography was like before the city existed.
“My icon imagery is the sacredness of nature and its preservation to honor what was there before man,” she said.
Gay has installed other public mosaic murals throughout Texas including work at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M Galveston. Another of Gay's public pieces, "San Antonio Songbirds" was recently installed at the Northeast Senior Center in 2015.
Her newest piece features native plants and animals, in an effort to bring public awareness to environmental issues. The wildflowers in the mural are a tribute to Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who worked to protect, preserve and plant wildflowers along Texas highways.
“When you are in Texas and you are making wildflowers, it speaks to that heritage that is quite old now," Gay said.
*Top Image: Artist Dixie Friend Gay is installing a 12-by-60 foot mosaic mural in the lobby of the Weston Centre called 'The San Antonio River.' Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone