Posted 17 days ago ago by Stacey Norton (Arts)
Six new public art installations by San Antonio artists have been revealed by the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture as part of the renovations of City Hall.
Built in 1889, San Antonio’s City Hall is one of the nation’s oldest public buildings in continuous use. The recent renovation of City Hall includes much-needed modernization to increase community connections and accessibility, while remaining respectful of the building’s nearly 130-year history. A highlight of the project is the new public art installations, which explore San Antonio’s past, present, and future while also portraying its geography, ecology, economy, and culture.
“City Hall is an icon of public service and municipal government and these artworks bring much more than interior décor for this space. They intrinsically set the tone for the important issues tackled here, rooting us in the fabric of San Antonio,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “The installations serve as a documentation of our rich heritage and a way to express the vibrancy and diversity of our community.”
Found on floors two through four and occupying niches in common areas, which were uncovered during the renovation process, the art installations explore a wide range of thought-provoking subjects with San Antonio as the unifying theme. Topics include the indigenous populations of South Texas, migration stories, the city’s parks and green spaces, architectural history and civil service, the local music scene and its global impact, and the daily life of three San Antonio streets.
Each artist engaged their own unique style, perspective, and approach to create a custom piece specific to the space. The artists and their artworks include:
- Interdisciplinary artist Ruth Leonela Buentello’s Entre Fronteras Memory Migration Maps is located on the building’s third floor and incorporates symbolism of the Orion constellation, familiar flora, and swallows to represent San Antonio as a migration destination point. The artwork, acrylic and mixed media on birchwood, incorporates imagery of the Westside to explore the shared migration histories and experiences of many San Antonio families.
- On the second floor, painter Ana Fernandez’s Three Streets portray the major thoroughfares of Fredericksburg Road, Culebra Road and Austin Highway. The three separate vertical landscapes of acrylic on birchwood play on atmospheric perspective and captures the cultural nuances, vitality, and personality of each street through the depiction of street scenes, cars, pedestrians, and small businesses.
- Multi-dimensional visual artist Raul Rene Gonzalez’s Music in the City adorns the third floor and highlights three of San Antonio’s distinct genres of music, Jazz, Tejano, and Heavy Metal. Featuring acrylic portraits/vignettes on birchwood, the artwork spotlights notable San Antonio music figures and venues throughout the last 100 years including Eva Ybarra, the Keyhole Club, SA Slayer, and more who have had made impacts at the local, state, national, and global levels.
- The fourth floor features sculpture artist Emily Fleisher’s Foundational Elements, a mixed media artwork that uses ordinary office objects, including paper and wood tables, and replicas of historic San Antonio City Hall, Mission Espada and the Bexar County Courthouse to invite magic into everyday routines. The artwork invites audiences to resee historical structures through the work of City government and incorporates concrete, glass and brass details to represent the historic structures and details.
- Three independent and dynamic landscapes create visual artist Megan Harrison’s Morning, Noon, and Night located on City Hall’s second floor. Using digitally collaged photographs printed on aluminum with an oak veneer faux window frame, Harrison explores San Antonio’s landscapes as seen in the early morning, at noon, and at dusk. The artwork takes a magical, recognizable, and enticingly strange look at the city’s scenery by creating new landscapes from well-known landscape elements like the Botanical Gardens, the Espada Aqueduct, and Phil Hardberger Park.
- On the fourth floor, multidisciplinary artist Mari Hernandez’s Tāp Pīlam Nation Portraits showcases a series of portraits of lineal San Antonio Missions descendants of our region's First People, who formed an important demographic base that continues today. Each person was photographed in attire of unique significance for the individual. The photographs are printed on semi-transparent plexiglass set within wallpapered landscapes of three historically significant locations, Mission Espada, The Blue Hole Headwater Sanctuary and Mission San Juan Capistrano. The artwork illustrates the intergenerational connections to land and ancestors as markers of identity and culture.
Additionally, the Department of Arts & Culture installed artworks from the City of San Antonio’s Collection in hallways and other common spaces throughout the building to reflect the importance of arts and culture in making San Antonio the city it is today.
For more information about the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program, visit http://www.sanantonio.gov/arts or @getcreativesa.