The “Door of Equality”
The “Door of Equality (La Puerta de Igualdad)” is now a permanent addition to the San Antonio public art scene. This is the latest gateway sculpture by the artist Sebastian and is a gift to the City of San Antonio from Fundación Sebastian and Siempre México to commemorate the city's rich civil and human rights history. The sculpture stands at a monumental 33-feet tall and is a bright cobalt blue, adding more even more color to the already vibrant downtown skyline.
The “Door of Equality” is located in the center of the San Pedro roundabout, a block north of San Antonio Central Library, which is an award-winning post-modern architectural building designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta.
The sculpture symbolizes the infinite struggle for justice with two, tightly wound, geometric pillars that stand side by side. The sculpture is lit from within, marking the first time the artist incorporates light into his work and giving off a perpetual glow that speaks to the fire and energy surrounding the City’s tenacious history. Set as a gateway between downtown and other areas of the City, the sculpture symbolizes that San Antonio’s door is always open.
The torqued twisted steel columns showcase the grind of the work done by human rights champions in San Antonio. These pillars are equal in strength and beauty representing the vision of equality. Each column is royal blue, with the first representing peace, tranquility and wisdom and the second column standing for loyalty, strength, and trust.
“With the current climate we are living in, one where walls are being proposed, I wanted to create a work that speaks to the importance of keeping doors open and being vigilant about true equality,” said Sebastian.
WILDLIFE VIEWING BLINDS PUBLIC ART PROJECT AT HARDBERGER PARK
Now Open - The 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.
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 expland 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.
The sculptures are series a wildflowers created from elements that up close resemble larger-than-life bicycle parts. The artwork takes inspiration from trail users and the native wildflowers nearby. The surrounding area has been shaped by years of flooding which has created a rough terrain ideal for hikers and mountain bikers. Silver rings are placed on the flower stems to indicate various flood level at each site.
Upcoming “Bloom” Installation Dates
1. River Walk Public Art Garden - Spring 2021
2. Apache Creek / Brazos Pocket Park - Spring 2021
3. Salado Creek / Eisenhower Park - Spring 2021
4. Southside Lions - Fall 2021
5. Alazan Creek / Farias Park - Spring 2022
6. Tezel Road Facility - Summer 2022
Coming Summer 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.