Artpace Teen Council: Murals on the West Side

Artpace Teen Council: Murals on the West Side

This year, Teen Council members will research and write an Artpace blog entry about the innovative art and artists that make up the thriving San Antonio community.

Murals on the West Side

by Eva Rangel

In the part of town that I live in, the houses are homogenous, and the streets are bland. Nothing ever sticks out, and there is nothing around to carry a sense of community. However, on the Westside, there is mural after mural of rich thought, culture, and community. There is just something that draws you in and makes you pay attention. Brighter Days, by lead artist Adriana Garcia, located on the side of the Paul Elizondo mental health clinic, does just that. The mural’s premise is mental health, and more specifically, how it feels to go through mental health issues. It is supposed to be viewed left to right. Each panel represents a different point of the behavior triangle (thoughts, feelings, and actions). The left panel symbolizes thought and the cognitive aspect of mental illnesses. The middle panel represents action, and the right panel represents feeling. The whole piece put together is supposed to bring hope: hope that things will get better. The mural itself means a lot to me as a person who has a deep connection to mental health and mental health issues. It makes me feel heard and seen to have such a complicated topic represented through art.

Mary Helen Herrera, “Comprando y Prestando.” Photo by Eva Rangel.

Another mural I enjoy is Comprando y Prestando by lead artist Mary Helen Herrera. The mural depicts a gathering of indigenous people exchanging goods. It features two distinctly Aztec people on the side, with one of them blowing a conch shell. Indigenous cultures are the main contributors to Mexican culture, which is prevalent in San Antonio. It’s crucial that Indigenous cultures be represented in art, especially locally, because it reminds us that there were people before us and that we have to recognize their struggles to understand our own.

These murals not only bring to light important topics, but they also allow anyone to understand and relate to the piece. I think that’s why I enjoy this style of art the most: anyone can enjoy it. It doesn’t take years of studying art to appreciate and connect with these public works of art. Not only that, but it makes the community more interesting and livelier, and it makes residents take a second to look. It’s an unmatchable form of art.

Eva Rangel is a sixteen-year-old junior at the International School of the Americas. This is Eva’s first year participating in the Artpace Teen Council.

The Artpace Teen Council is a nine-month, paid program designed for San Antonio area high school students (15-18 years old) to become advocates for contemporary art and young leaders in their community. Teen Council members work with Artpace staff and artists to develop teen programs, support Artpace events, and create community-based projects throughout the school year.

To learn more about the Artpace Teen Council, visit the Teen Council page on our website.