WILDLIFE VIEWING BLINDS PUBLIC ART PROJECT AT HARDBERGER PARK
The new Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge at Phil Hardberger Park is the largest land bridge projects designed for both people and animals in the United States. Located in north central San Antonio, the bridge unites the east and west sides of the 330-acre Hardberger Park and its 7.5 miles of trails, creating a safe passageway for wildlife above Wurzbach Parkway. Pedestrians and creatures crossing the bridge have the experience of climbing a hill, unaware of the six lanes of traffic below them.
Part of this major project is a public art installation of two wildlife viewing blinds featuring imagery by collaborative San Antonio artists Ashley Mireles and Cade Bradshaw. In addition to being a connection between art and nature, these blinds serve many purposes, with opportunities to view wildlife from a safe distance as well as the potential for programming focused on art and the outdoors.
The blind designed by Bradshaw is titled "Lightbox" and features elements inspired by the topography and fauna of Phil Hardberger Park. "Innature" by Mireles features the flora of the area.
Both blinds, which are part of Stephen Stimson Studio Landscape Architects’ design for the bridge, are near a water feature intended to attract wildlife. Additionally, they were created with accessibly, safety, durability and ease-of-maintenance in mind. For more information about the Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge and Phil Hardberger Park, please visit philhardbergerpark.org.
Learn more about the artists with "7 Questions With Ashley Mireles" and "7 Questions With Cade Bradshaw."
Nao JĀM at comanche lookout park
Comanche Lookout Park now features a new thought-provoking public art project, titled "Najo Jām." Meaning “Our Home” in the Coahuiltecan language Pajalate, the artwork pays tribute to indigenous ancestors of South Texas as well as future generations.
Sitting at the park's peak, “Najo Jām” is considered pan-Indian, relating to the multiple indigenous tribes including those that call San Antonio home. Designed by collaborating San Antonio artists Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza, the installation features stylized benches, a planter, and a monument that symbolize peyotism used as part of indigenous religious ceremonies. These pieces are created with a signature style passed down from generations called trabajo rustico, which uses reinforced concrete to artistically imitate wood and stone. To read more about the artwork’s symbolism visit here.
A central piece of the “Najo Jām” installation is the monument, which features half-moon and deer imagery carved in the faux stone. An important food source for indigenous cultures, deer were also revered in spiritual traditions. According to legend, where the deer steps peyote cacti grow. The monument also includes a peyote stich pattern made of tile reminiscent of beadwork from various tribes including South West and Plains tribes. The pattern is often found on ceremonial rattles used in sacrament.
The artist team of Cortés and Garza also collaborated on a “Najo Jām” oversized planter in the shape of a peyote bud at the River Walk Public Art Garden near the corner of Market and Alamo Streets. The planter is currently on display at the River Walk Public Art Garden before permanently moving to the Comanche Lookout Park installation. Click here to learn more.
Bloom across the city
The Department of Arts & Culture has been working closely with the Parks & Rec Department to enhance local parks and greenways with public art. The Linear Creekway System Strategy goal is to increase neighborhood connectivity, create a visual identity for the Linear Creeks, and to place more art on Greenway Trails.
One of those public art projects within the Linear Creekways System Strategy is to expand the "Bloom" series by San Antonio artist Leticia Huerta. Given the positive reception of the original installation at Mud Creek in McAllister Park, the strategy for growing the series to a system-wide concept was presented and approved by the city’s Public Art Committee and San Antonio Arts Commission in June 2019. Click here to watch "7 Questions with Artist Leticia Huerta."
These radiant, oversized metal flower sculptures are part of a collection created from elements that, up close, resemble larger-than-life bicycle parts. Each installation takes inspiration from its location and the native wildflowers nearby. “Bloom" also serves as trailhead connectors, wayfinding markers and even a scientific purpose on the greenway and park installations with silver rings on the flower stems to indicate various water levels when San Antonio receives rain.
The latest in the “Bloom” sculpture series has been “planted” at the River Walk Public Art Garden are designed to resemble native wildflowers Yellow Columbine and Lantana. You can find these new additions near the intersection of Market and Alamo Streets, viewable from the River Walk and street level.
Upcoming “Bloom” installation locations and dates include:
• Apache Creek at Brazos Pocket Park - Summer 2021
• Salado Creek at Eisenhower Park - Summer 2021
• Salado Creek at Southside Lions Park - Fall 2021
• Alazan Creek at Farias Park - Spring 2022
• Leon Creek at Tezel Road Facility - Summer 2022
Coming Fall 2021 – “Stargazer” will be a new iconic signature piece for San Antonio joining the line-up at the River Walk Public Art Garden. Mexican Artist Pedro Reyes is creating this monumental-scale sculpture depicting a stylized figurative seated woman that holds, and gazes upon, a small star-like object that is held between its fingers. The star-like object is reminiscent of an arrowhead, person, or star. The design references Meso-American imagery, the history of monument design, and local indigenous history and heritage. The sculpture will be made of volcanic stone, sitting 15 feet tall upon a 4 foot base.
The latest public art installation in San Antonio, by Mexican artist Sebastian, can be found at the world’s gateway to San Antonio - the San Antonio International Airport. The “Star of Texas (La Estrella de Texas)” stands at a total of 17-feet and is painted Sebastian’s signature fiery red.
Installed on the southside of the airport’s entrance on Airport Blvd., the structure consists of five vertical steel components which appear to support each other’s weight, imploring viewers to see themselves as part of a greater whole. Negative space at the top of the sculpture creates the shape of a star when viewed from two vantage points, symbolizing San Antonio as a lone star city with characteristics unique among cities.
When designing the “Star of Texas”, Sebastian considered Texas’ reputation as the “Lone Star State,” with San Antonio a city that shines in a constellation of the greater good that brings us all together. A theme throughout the artist’s work in San Antonio, which includes the iconic “Torch of Friendship” and “Door of Equality” in downtown, the “Star of Texas” represents San Antonio’s commitment to equity and reputation for warmth, hospitality, and friendliness.