San Antonio is a wonderful city to explore museums, musical performances, and theatre. As the pandemic has continued, it has made it more difficult to attend such venues and events. But never fear, there is culture and art all around us! Public art is a great choice to explore and discover during this time. Public art has always graced our parks, libraries, and outdoor spaces in San Antonio.
I know that I have randomly strolled on the Riverwalk or a park and discovered public art. On a drive downtown, I have seen a light installation under one of our city bridges or turned down a street to see a mural. It’s always been a treat to randomly discover one of our city’s public art displays. However, I have rarely deliberately sought out public art or done more than casually found out the background or history of these visual treats. However, I’ve decided to focus in on discovering these visual treats and the background of them with my family. Get outdoors, discover new places, see art, and introduce my family to more culture? Win, win!! Here are a few places that my family has decided to venture out to first:
1. Comanche Park | Najo Jam
I love this tribute to the Indigenous people of San Antonio. This is an easy enough hike but still provides a good mile of walking before getting to this new public art project. We enjoyed the view from these newly created benches and also got to see what we had learned about from watching a video about the artists’ work.
2. Phil Hardberger Park | Wildlife Viewing Blinds
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The new Robert Tobin land bridge is certainly a draw for visitors. It is about a half mile to reach the land bridge from either parking lot. It connects the two sides of the park and on top are these two wildlife viewing blinds that are pieces of public art. The blinds are situated to be both functional and representational of native plants and animals. I’m hoping that my family will be able to discover some wildlife when visiting the blinds. Regardless, we will get outdoors, see the new land bridge, and see these blinds.
3. Underpass of Theo/Malone and IH-35 | Ballroom Luminoso
This art installation is one that I think my kids will enjoy. These are “chandeliers” placed under an underpass that light at dusk and create interesting shadows and light. The chandeliers are created from bicycle parts and other scrap metal. I know my teen will be getting photos for his Insta here! Okay, I’m sure I’ll join him in doing this!
4. Stinson Airport | Pioneers of the Sky Mural
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This mural is dedicated to females in aviation. My husband is a flight geek so any chance to visit an airport will get a solid Yes. I like the idea of showing my children this mural depicting “Girl Power.” The mural depicts the two sisters who started the Stinson Flying School in 1915.
5. Lady Bird Johnson Park | Unnamed Colorful Tile Work
This public art work is located at a skatepark? I can get my fledgling 11-year-old skater there on that fact alone. I hear there are some darn good skaters that head here so, in addition to the tiles, there should be skaters to see. My teen would love to see some new tricks demonstrated.
There are over 600 public art displays all over San Antonio. If you would like to explore a few of these in your area of town or head to a new part of the city, check out the city of San Antonio’s public artworks map. You can search by neighborhood, parks, libraries, etc. What I loved is checking out the information on the artist and the background of each installation. I plan on sharing that with my family so we can know a few things before we head out on our art adventure! I like the idea of exploring various parts of the city that I might visit on the regular. I think these adventures can be safe family outings to get us out of the house during the pandemic.