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New Public Art on San Antonio's Historic Eastside

Posted 5 years 37 days ago ago by Javier Flores (WHO)


Javier Flores, Department for Culture & Creative Development

New Public Art Piece on San Antonio’s Historic Eastside Welcomed with Open Arms
City of San Antonio dedicates new sculpture, ‘Open Hand, Open Mind, Open Heart’

SAN ANTONIO (July 29, 2015) – At a dedication ceremony held earlier today, District 2 Councilman Alan E. Warrick, II and the City of San Antonio Department for Culture & Creative Development officially unveiled a new public artwork recently installed at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1213 Iowa St. The 32-foot tall original sculpture, entitled “Open Hand, Open Mind, Open Heart” consists of perforated steel and metal tubing depicting an open hand with two internal 5-foot diameter openings, and is orientated toward a view of downtown San Antonio. 

"Our center city is a gateway to surrounding neighborhoods filled with history, culture and the promise of a prosperous future. San Antonio’s historic Eastside is a great example of this crossroads of history and progress,” said Councilman Warrick. “It is fitting that this new public art piece is located at Pittman-Sullivan Park, as it has served as an everyday community gathering space for area residents and has also welcomed thousands of people from around the country for the City’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Commemoration. This artwork beautifully conveys the history and significance of our Eastside.” 

The project is a collaboration between City Council District 2, the Department for Culture & Creative Development’s Public Art San Antonio division (PASA), Transportation & Capital Improvements, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Davis-Scott Family YMCA. An artist selection panel and the San Antonio Arts Commission recommended and approved artist Douglas Kornfeld of Boston to commission an original piece of artwork as part of the 2012 Bond Public Art Project: Eastside Parks.

“I cannot think of a better artist and sculptor to have been chosen to lead this project. Although Douglas Kornfeld is from Boston, he did not operate aloof from this community. He attended the San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. March a few years back, dined at neighboring Eastside restaurants and fully emerged himself into the surrounding community,” said Bill Burman, Davis-Scott Family YMCA Board Member.

The artwork is 32’ high, 17’ wide and 10” deep, and is situated at Pittman-Sullivan Park on a hillside location adjacent to a recently-installed walking trail. The sculpture’s circular base also serves as a respite with limestone block seating. The total budget was $80,000, including $20,000 for design and $60,000 for fabrication. 

The sculpture, according to Kornfeld, was created as a dedication to Dr. King, and is intended to be an interactive piece. As one steps through the lower stainless steel ring, one’s hand is open and mimicking the open hand of the sculpture. This action symbolically connects the visitor to the piece and the non-violent philosophy of Dr. King.

“Dr. Martin Luther King and his philosophy of social change inspired the artwork by non- violent action,” said Kornfeld. “The open hand depicts a gesture of non-violence and is reinforced by the open ring in the palm further depicting a non-aggressive pose. The ring at the bottom of the arm is designed to encourage visitors to step through the artwork.” 

DCCD’s Public Art San Antonio division facilitates a public process for commissioning art of the highest standards which enriches the quality of life and visual environment for all residents and visitors of San Antonio. PASA manages public art projects associated with the City’s capital improvements programs and connects to the community through exhibits, presentations, outreach and planning initiatives. PASA works directly with all City departments and supports local public art efforts of artists, community groups, partnership organizations and outside agencies. 

For more information on the City’s public art program, including a public artworks map, visit 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020