Last Updated on January 30, 2024
Welcome to the Creative Currents series! Public art, cultural programming, and artistic design enhancements express what is authentic about today’s culture and explore the historical significance of area waterways through a contemporary art lens. This series provides an inside look at the many ways artists are incorporated into the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) projects, including the growing San Pedro Creek Culture Park.
San Antonio is home to many beautiful pieces of public art, but HemisFair and the San Pedro Creek Culture Park stand out in the abundance and scale of artwork that they contain. These public spaces define the east and west ends of San Antonio’s historic urban core and host several pieces that share similar stories and designs.
Join us for the first in a three-part series as we analyze two artworks in HemisFair and two pieces at the San Pedro Creek Culture Park side by side, connecting the two sides of downtown through storytelling.
Reflect vs. Creek Lines
Enveloping the large blue play structure that snakes through the Yanaguana Garden at HemisFair is Reflect – an arching canopy that shades the play space.
Completed in 2018 by Stuart Allen and Cade Bradshaw of Bridge Projects as a tricentennial piece, the work of art celebrates the City of San Antonio and Bexar County’s 300th anniversary as government institutions.
The structure’s organic shape mimics the series of arches that form the adjacent promenade. The sculpture features woven bands of stainless steel with a reflective underside that allows visitors to see their surroundings in a distorted “fun-house mirror” as they look up while playing and making memories.
Reflect at the Yanaguana Garden at HemisFair Culture Park
Creek Lines, sited in San Pedro Creek Culture Park’s Plaza de Fundación, is also a tricentennial piece by Bridge Projects. Creek Lines celebrates the literal and historic path of the creek. The line carved by these waters – from San Pedro Springs to the confluence with the San Antonio River – is represented by a cut in the sculpture canopy and on the ground in stainless steel. The 30 curved poles supporting the canopy represent the same line, cut into five separate segments. Each pole represents one decade of Bexar County and the City of San Antonio’s 300-year modern history. On each pole, a plaque describes historical events from that decade. The faceted mirror finish on the underside of the canopy reflects the surrounding environment and activity beneath, creating a playful and contemplative sequence of color, imagery, and motion.
Creek Lines at the San Pedro Creek Culture Park
Yanaguana vs. Aqua
Need a Break after Playtime? Take a seat and admire the work of local artist and educator Alex Rubio. At HemisFair, Rubio’s piece Yanaguana is showcased, while San Pedro Creek Culture Park displays Aqua. The sister pieces feature a distinct curvilinear design— a style Rubio became fond of as a teenager. Whereas the mural at HemisFair contains green tones to emulate the surrounding park space, Aqua is comprised of blue tones, drawing inspiration from the flowing water in San Pedro Creek below. These pieces beautify what would otherwise be sterile scenes. Yanaguana’s four panels add interest to the pavilion housing restrooms and water fountains, while Aqua conceals the maintenance shaft for San Pedro Creek’s flood tunnel.
Yanaguana at HemisFair Culture Park.
Aqua at San Pedro Creek Culture Park
HemisFair and the San Pedro Creek Culture Park are outstanding examples of integrating meaningful public art into infrastructure projects. By visiting these beautiful public spaces, you support enjoyable creeks and rivers. We encourage you to explore and make your own connections!
What public artworks will we explore next? Find out when we see you for our next Creative Currents blog!