When the developers of VIDA – San Antonio’s newest planned community – sought inspiration for the new 600-acre community at the doorstep to Texas A&M -San Antonio, they didn’t have to look far. Inspired by San Antonio’s rich legacy of public art, the new community is designing to the theme ‘art is everywhere’. It’s a theme that fits right in with the already vibrant public art scene across the City.
Impacts of Public Art in San Antonio
San Antonio has long enjoyed a remarkable relationship with public artists. In fact, there are over 600 pieces of public art scattered across the city, all in locations easily accessible by those who desire to experience them. Ranging from grand public sculptures to dramatic installations like those commissioned by the San Antonio Street Art Initiative , inspired art of every medium runs throughout the City. Texas A&M – San Antonio extends this commitment to public art by commissioning works and displaying art across campus, to serve as inspiration for students, staff and guests. A new commissioned mosaic by noted local artist Oscar Alvarado is planned for installation on campus in the near future. And a recent competition established the commission of a public art installation revering Matthew Gaines, Washington County’s first African American Senator.
The enthusiasm extends to much newer groups in the San Antonio area, as well, including collaboratives like the San Antonio Street Art Initiative, or SASAI. The group has been in the process of creating Texas’ largest outdoor public gallery since 2018. Currently, there are a total of 49 outstanding murals and counting gracing San Antonio’s exterior vertical spaces.
Must-See Public Art
As a result of the public art resurgence in San Antonio, the city’s Department of Arts and Culture has established a fully-functioning Public Art Division to fill a need near-unheard of in most other cities. In recent years, Public Arts has created a Public Artwork Map featuring each of the over 600 works in San Antonio’s vast collection. With a little time and some dedication, the art enthusiast can navigate to hundreds of unique, interesting art pieces available for public viewing. The full list and map are available via San Antonio Public Art, but we’ve rounded up a list of our favorites to help you get started:
Open Mind, Open Hand, Open Heart – Douglas Kornfelt. One of the most iconic San Antonio public art pieces, this towering 32-foot sculpture features none other than a giant hand symbolizing exactly what its title would suggest. Snap photos of the sculpture and the SA skyline at 1101 Iowa Street.
- La Veladora of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Jesse Trevino. It isn’t often that you see mixed media al-fresco, but this exquisite mural features a 3D candle. You can visit La Veladora, the beacon of the local neighborhood, at 1315 Guadalupe Street.
- Spineway – Marc Fornes. Residing at Woodlawn Lake Park since 2015, this expansive blue and green aluminum sculpture is meant to represent the movement of San Antonio’s most valuable resource – its people. See it at 1401 Cincinnati Avenue, on the corner of Cincinnati and Josephine Tobin Drive.
- 29° 25’ 57” N and 98° 29’ 13” W – Stuart Allen. The San Antonio Riverwalk is an iconic feature of the city, and this steel hanging installation is just one of the many intriguing pieces of art you’ll see on the path. Stroll along the Riverwalk and you can’t miss it.
- The Torch of Friendship – Sebastian. Undoubtedly the most influential piece of public art in San Antonio, the Torch also represents the most iconic. A towering orange-red flame-like structure, La Antorcha de la Amistad was a gift from the Mexican government – find it at 333 Losoya Street.
Watch for updates on VIDA San Antonio and their public art plans, or contact VIDA today for more information.