Color, Culture, Community: San Antonio Urban Art Landscape
San Antonio is a city of artists, a convergence of cultures, and a place where we celebrate the colorful diversity of South Central Texas. This summer, take advantage of the longer days and check out some of this culture available to you (and possibly right under your nose in your own neighborhood)! 

 

Árbol de la Vida: Memorias y Voces de la Tierra (The Tree of Life: Memories and Voices of the Land), 2019
by Margarita Cabrera and community members
Located at 10040 Espada Road

Part of the Mission Espada scenery, Arból de la Vida beautifully peeks over the trees on the winding entry road into the park as a fitting homage to the ranching history of the land and of the people. Seven hundred clay sculptures can be found hanging from the steel tree “branches.” Sculptor Margarita Cabrera employed surrounding community members to share their ranching heritage and stories by creating these sculptures themselves.

Árbol de la Vida

 

Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas, 1968
by Juan O’Gorman
Located at 200 Market Street, 78206

As part of the art commissioned for the 1968 HemisFair, a Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas is one of only three mosaic murals that remain installed at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Artist Juan O’ Gorman, in keeping with the World’s Fair theme, depicts the start of civilization with Adam and Eve, as well as the start of a new civilization created when both the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and the peoples brought to the New World via European immigration met.

 

Spineway, 2015
by Marc Fornes
Located at 1401 Cincinnati Avenue

Over 22 shades of blue and green grace this commissioned piece located at Woodlawn Lake Park. Spineway is aptly named to promote the idea that Woodlawn Lake acts as a type of central nervous system for surrounding neighborhoods, connecting the people who move throughout and use the grounds. The sculpture’s perforated aluminum is reminiscent of the ornate designs found in papel picado, letting light come through and speckle the ground underneath. 

Spineway

 

Whispers, 2015
by Arne Quinze
Located at San Antonio River Walk, 78214

Located just north of Mission San Juan Capistrano, Whispers, a collection of freestanding metal sculptures stand tall against the banks of the Mission Reach Riverwalk. They are nearly indistinguishable from Mission Road, brown and blending in with the landscape. If you blink, you may disregard them as dead tree trunks. But a brisk walk from the mission parking lot, down the trail, past the Berg’s Mill Bridge and the bridge over the San Antonio River, takes you to these towering giants. If you turn around after you pass the sculptures, you will see a bright array of colors. Artist Quinze was inspired by the Texas wildflowers, and like wildflowers, the bright reds, purples, blues, oranges, and yellows nestle into the natural landscape. 

Whispers

 

Grotto, 2009
by Carlos Cortés
Located at Riverwalk N, 78212

Found tucked in a crook of the San Antonio River is San Antonio artist Carlos Cortés’s Grotto—a magical concrete cave of wonders. Replete with waterfalls and stalagmites and stalactites that recall the South Texas cavern system, this piece brings Cortés’s love of nature into the urban landscape. But Grotto is more than just a faux natural wonder. Cortés brings in a mythical, fairy tale–like quality in a hidden corner of a cave. A frightening face looms in the darkness, spouting out a heavy stream of water. In the evening, lanterns light up the cave and cast a romantic reflection across the river. 

Grotto

 

Four Seasons
Located at SE Loop 410 Underpass at Villamain Road

Fall, Mesquite, Deer, 2017
by Chris Montoya

Fall
Winter, Pecan, Mountain Lion, 2017
by Christina Sosa Noriega

Winter

While driving along Villamain Road on your way to Mission Espada, you will come across the Four Seasons mural series on the World Heritage Mural Trail. They brightly dot the way under the 410 overpasses, honoring the Coahuiltecan population, native plant species, and animals that lived in the area for millennia. 

Fall uses warm reds, burnt oranges, mustards, and maroons to evoke an autumnal feeling in the viewer. Mesquite, which was a very resourceful tree—providing medicine, fuel, and other important tools for the Coahuiltecan people—can be seen growing amid a herd of deer, birds, and cacti. 

Winter aptly uses a cool color palette to pay tribute to the pecan, an important food for the Coahuiltecan, as well as the mountain lion, which inhabited the area in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

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