By Lea Thompson
Newly painted murals along Guadalupe street show the incredible growth taking place in the Westside San Antonio community. Local artists and residents recently partnered with the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) and San Anto Cultural Arts to create images representing the Westside’s unique culture and history.
Participants and community supporters gathered for the unveiling and blessing of the murals outside Alazan-Apache Courts on Tuesday.
The first two of five mural panels greet visitors with the phrase “Bienvenidos a Westside,” and continues between Richter and Colorado streets with scenes of mariachis, pan dulce and the sports that are part of San Antonio’s strong Latino heritage.
“We wanted to be sure that the images that were going to be on display permanently were images that reflected their love and passion for the things that matter in the community,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez, SAHA CEO and president said.
Several other mural panels focus on the importance of education, featuring images of SAISD and Edgewood high school mascots and the symbols of the future graduates who will go on to college.
“At SAHA we’re more than just creating affordable housing, we’re in the business of creating dynamic communities where people thrive,” Castro Ramirez added.
The San Antonio Cultural Arts outreach has helped hundreds of young people through their mural-painting projects since 1993.
The newest mural partnership between San Anto and SAHA hopes to erase negative stereotypes while celebrating Westside culture throughout the community.
Lourdes Galvan, a former councilwoman and life-long Westside resident shared her thoughts on the new murals and what it meant for the people of San Antonio.
“We have to make those changes, thank you to San Anto for these beautiful images, engaging the young kids, it is so wonderful,” Galvan said.
Father Martin Elsner from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church blessed the new wall murals as volunteers poured holy water into the hands of residents, before they gathered to embraced the art.
“We use holy water on the mural to tell us that Jesus is here…God lives on the Westside, and he lives in each one of us,” Father Elsner said.