What is the San Antonio Museum of Art Murals Project?
This summer, residents of San Antonio have the rare opportunity to see their ideas showcased in three original neighborhood murals, as part of a citywide community mural project organised by the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA). After careful deliberations and committee review, SAMA has designated three local muralists–Suzy González, Victor Zarazua, and Sandra Gonzalez–to create site-specific artwork at businesses on the East Side, West Side, and SAMA’s campus.
The project is funded by a SAMA grant from the nonprofit Art Bridges Foundation and a joint effort between SAMA, the San Anto Cultural Arts, and the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum.
The community project found its original inspiration in Bronzeville at Night by Archibald Motley Jr., currently on loan from the Art Bridges Foundation and on display in SAMA’s Contemporary galleries through August 2021. The painting is set in Bronzeville, an urban jazz-infused Chicago neighborhood in the 1940s. The artist trio will aim to capture the spirit of Motley’s painting and draw attention to the characteristics unique to each San Antonio neighborhood.
The murals will strive to reflect iconic urban landmarks, community histories, and the overall cultural landscape of each neighborhood. These murals will serve as a space for gathering, reflection, and an accessible way to experience local art.
“Murals have always been a powerful tool to educate and commemorate local histories,” says Yohanna Tesfai, public programs manager for SAMA. “By asking for community input and having residents of San Antonio be a part of the mural selection process, we are emphasizing that art is for all and that art can be enjoyed anywhere. Communal relationships are the foundation of any society, so we must continue to build and grow with the people of San Antonio. We hope that the selected businesses continue to be an anchor in their community, and that these murals shine a light on how San Antonio is a beautiful, culturally rich city.”
Timeline for San Antonio Museum of Art Murals Project
One mural will be at each of the following locations:
- SAMA’s campus
- San Antonio’s East Side community
- San Antonio’s West Side community
Locals can share their ideas about the themes, people, and historic events they’d like to see depicted in each mural via this digital survey all throughout the month of June. The artists will officially start work on their pieces in July, while the completed murals are expected to be unveiled August 15. Subsequently, from June 26-July 10, the local community can vote on one of three themes drafted by each artist to create for each mural location. Voting will take place on SAMA’s website and in person at the museum. Each artist will receive an honorarium of $3000 and a materials budget of $2000.
Meet the artists of San Antonio Museum of Art Murals Project
Mural location: San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio-based artist, curator, zinester, educator, and organizer Suzy González has had solo exhibits at Presa House Gallery, Hello Studio, Palo Alto College, and two-person exhibits at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and the University of Connecticut. Suzy co-publishes the Yes, Ma’am zine, co-organizes the San Anto Zine Fest, and is half of the collective Dos Mestizx, who recently curated XicanX: New Visions in New York and Texas. She has created public art with the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Street Art Initiative, Centro San Antonio, and the City of San Marcos, and is currently working on a project with the City of Pasadena.
Mural location: Wicho’s Mexican Deli on the Westside
As a practitioner of the Graffiti Art Subculture, Victor started painting at the age of ten. Victor has curated large public art festivals, and with no major support besides his friends. Together they realized that a grassroots approach to doing what they wanted would create more art in the city, and everyone would follow the model they created, from specialized shops, businesses, and developers to art institutions and city agencies. Victor’s passion is creating and producing large works, and over the last five years his work has grown to include stained glass, abstract, and post-graffiti directions. Victor is also the Mural Coordinator for San Anto Cultural Arts, a position that has changed his thought process.
Mural location: Tony G’s on the Eastside (Mural to be created in partnership with Malachy McKinney)
Sandra is an active muralist and an art educator at Roosevelt High School in San Antonio. She has held numerous art exhibits throughout the U.S, often involving communities groups, organizations, and the general public in most of her large-scale mural projects. Sandra learned about engaging with the community through her work for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and has assisted with various large-scale murals, involving as inmates, mental health patients, students, and several artists. Sandra’s personal paintings reflect a colorful Mexican American culture and include portraits, native plants, and Mexican textiles as a metaphor in which each garment is a collection of individual fibers forming a group or society.
San Antonio murals make great Insta-worthy pictures. Check out what else is photogenic in San Antonio by focusing on our list of 10 Best Places To Take Pictures in San Antonio
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