San Antonio is a city full of murals, but the new one in the Government Hill neighborhood represents something more. San Anto Cultural Arts Center’s Public Art Program Manager John Medina explains how it came about.
"Earlier in the year we were contacted by City Center Health Careers and they wanted us to team up with them to paint the mural and teach it as part of their curriculum," Medina said. "Previous to this they didn’t have an art class."
So what does a mural and art have to do with City Center Heath Careers Charter School?"
Medina explained the big picture:
"What they try to instill in their students is a sense of being a good citizen, and a sense of being active in your community," he said. "And so they have other projects that they work on, for instance they’ve got a community garden project and a lot of students volunteer to work at a local hospital and things like that."
This began to sound not so much like an art class as a lesson in civics and a lesson in history. Medina enthusiastically agreed.
"You’re spot on about that," he said. "I think the students learned how to work with people, and be conscious of their surrounding environment, and the people that lived there."
The mural is located at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in the Government Hill neighborhood. And the students didn’t get to just paint what they wanted. There was a process for soliciting ideas and local histories from those who lived there and, as Medina explained, compromise was key.
"Because we’re working in Government Hill, a community that has a very rich history, they were able to learn a lot about this historical neighborhood of San Antonio through the research that they did," he said.
This Friday afternoon San Anto Cultural Arts will dedicate El Cielo Sobre La Loma (The Sky Over the Hill) at Willow Street and IH-35 North.
- For more on San Anto visit: www.sananto.org