Posted 10 days ago ago by Javier Flores (Arts)
Javier Flores, Department of Arts & Culture
City of San Antonio, San Anto Cultural Arts Unveil New Mural along World Heritage Trail
San Antonio Artist Depicts Natural Landscape, Indigenous Culture of Historic Missions Area
SAN ANTONIO (November 13, 2017) – At a dedication ceremony held yesterday, the City of San Antonio, District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran and San Anto Cultural Arts celebrated the completion of the latest mural as part of the World Heritage Public Art Project. “Where I End and You Begin,” a large-scale artwork by San Antonio artist Jason Eric Gonzales Martinez, is located on Mission Parkway at the SE Military underpass along the San Antonio River. The dedication event also included ceremonial blessings of the mural by the Tehuan Band of Mission Indians.
The site was identified through community input at a public meeting held in January, and was deemed an important location along the San Antonio River and within the World Heritage corridor for its use as a shady respite for cyclists, kayakers, pedestrians, and birds and wildlife. The City worked with San Anto Cultural Arts, a community-based arts organization that has been engaging San Antonio communities in the creation of public art murals for more than 20 years.
“The stories being told through these artworks are a true collaborative effort that have brought together residents, community partners, artists, and the City to capture the history and culture of our beloved Missions,” said District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran.
Influenced by the cave-like setting of the underpass, existing bird habitat, and initial community input, Gonzales Martinez’s work explores nesting, migration, and connections between built and natural environments. San Anto Cultural Arts consulted with the San Antonio River Authority, the East Pyron Symphony Lane Neighborhood Association, and bird specialists to create the work.
Using color to represent the natural landscape, ceramic to create the nests, and flat-stamp iconography influenced by re-conquest indigenous communities, Gonzales Martinez portrays the flora and fauna of the this historic area. The flat stamp imagery is influenced by pre-Conquest symbols and iconography used by indigenous communities throughout what is now called Mexico. The color palette also serves a very specific role in laying out the story line of the mural.
“I wanted to create a mural in which the narrative is directly linked to how we, as human beings, interact with the natural environment, while maintaining a connection to cultura and my research focus in Chicana/o art and indigenous creative practices,” Gonzales Martinez said. “It was very important that this work used a non-text based visual language to portray the flora and fauna of this historic area of the Mission Trail and in the immediate area.”
The World Heritage Public Art Project is a collaborative effort between the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, World Heritage Office, and various community partners. The City of San Antonio has held several community meetings to work with area businesses, neighborhoods, individual artists and arts organizations on location and artist selection, and mural concepts.
These 10 murals are located in key areas within the World Heritage Trail corridor to reinforce and enhance the visitor experience, while also providing an aesthetic vision that reflects the rich history and culture of the Missions, people and neighborhoods within the area. Additional sites for mural installations include: Stinson Municipal Airport, Villamain Rd., S. Presa St., Roosevelt Ave., Mission Rd., Steves Ave.
San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions were designated a World Heritage Site in 2015. Shortly after designation, Councilwoman Viagran led a series of symposia designed to engage the public. The input received was used to develop a World Heritage Work Plan that includes short- and long-term goals for specific categories identified by the community. As part of this work plan, a beautification assessment was completed. The assessment identifies strategies and opportunities to improve the visual character and perceived safety, comfort, and function of spaces within the World Heritage Trail corridor. As part of the work plan, branded banners have been installed, as well as photo banners that not only serve as wayfinding, but also exhibit the rich cultural heritage of San Antonio. These public art murals are another way to improve the visual character and perceived safety, comfort, and function of spaces within the World Heritage Trail corridor for residents and visitors.
For more information, visit www.sanantonio.gov/WorldHeritage/Work-Plan-Updates/Beautification or call 210-207-2111.