San Antonio’s new sculpture garden is a work of art

A brand new sculpture garden in a former downtown space was officially opened on Tuesday. This downtown space is comprised of three shaded acres bordered by South Alamo and Market streets on two sides, and the San Antonio River on the third side. Former San Antonio Poet Laureate Octavio Quintanilla spoke about his project there.

Artist Kaldrick Dow explains his sculpture to tour members

“I was commissioned to write the poem that you will see spiraling around the square,” he said.

Quintanilla’s words in concrete honor the work and encircle the area where the sculpture of labor leader Samuel Gompers stood. This sculpture was not originally built to last and has been removed.

The plaza, located across from the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Market Street, celebrates eight prominent San Antonio labor figures and replaces a crumbling statue of American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers, also a San Antonio native. .

These three acres are cut in the middle by a waterfall. Most of the ten artists behind the sculptures were there to greet those discovering the garden, which is divided between river level and street level above. Artist Gary Sweeney was asked to create a sign to link the two levels.

Gary Sweeney with his sign/sculpture

“We stand under the sign that leads people from the River Walk into the beautiful sculpture garden they have above here.”

His sign was, not unusually for him, quirky.

“It was described as a ransom demand,” Sweeney said. “So there are different fonts and there are different colors.”

The garden is punctuated to the west by
by Sebastian friendship torch and at its east end by the massive steel star gazerof Pedro Reyes, perched where the river divides with the River Center Mall on one side and the Convention Center on the other.

Krystal Jones of the Department of Arts and Culture oversaw the garden.

“It was part of a 2017 Bond project. And really, it’s a landmark project to help us celebrate the tercentenary,” she said.

The sculpture of Sebastián Lipchitziana, Pochycereus and Nudo Torusado

One of the functions of the garden is to send art lovers to town in search of other related works.

“A really important part of this project is that there are connecting pieces that connect downtown to other neighborhoods,” Jones said. “So we have the Thinking Spheres piece here by Kaldrick Dow. He has a larger sculpture and the one in this series at Martin Luther King Park.

The setting of the new sculpture garden is one of the most beautiful in the city. Jones said this garden is for everyone.

“It’s free, accessible and accessible to all abilities, all ages, all walks of life. It’s beautiful at street level and at Riverwalk level,” she said.

For those who go there, you can easily admire all the sculptures in an hour.

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