Alamo City Art

A look at San Antonio's most iconic pieces of public art

A look at San Antonio's most iconic pieces of public art

La Antorcha de la Amistad downtown San Antonio Sebastián
La Antorcha de la Amistad sits at the rotarian intersection of Alamo, Commerce, Market, and Losoya streets in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Photo by Katie Nickas
World's Largest Cowboy Boots San Antonio North Star Mall Bob Daddy-O Wade
The 40-foot-tall pair of cowboy boots created by sculptor Bob "Daddy-O" Wade is as much a part of the experience at North Star Mall as the shopping. Photo by Katie Nickas
Muertosfest Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead San Antonio
La Villita Historic Arts Village will display altars created by artists throughout the San Antonio community as part of the Día de los Muertos celebration. Photo by Katie Nickas
Gonzalez Convention Center Lila Cockrell Theater Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas Sebastián
The famous mural at the Lila Cockrell Theatre commemorated the 1968 Hemisfair World's Fair. Runner1928/Wikimedia Commons
La Antorcha de la Amistad downtown San Antonio Sebastián
World's Largest Cowboy Boots San Antonio North Star Mall Bob Daddy-O Wade
Muertosfest Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead San Antonio
Gonzalez Convention Center Lila Cockrell Theater Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas Sebastián

When people peruse the streets of San Antonio for public art, what do they find? There are many variations, from majestic sculptures to vibrant murals to decorative benches in public parks. 

We're taking a look at some of San Antonio’s best-known public art, including a giant pair of cowboy boots and an iconic downtown sculpture. Next, we'll highlight the Alamo City artists taking public art to new dimensions.

La Antorcha de la Amistad
Created by Mexican artist and sculptor Sebastián in 2001, this 2-ton orange steel sculpture sits at the intersection of Alamo, Commerce, Market, and Losoya streets in the heart of downtown near the River Walk.

The sculpture’s name translates to “The Torch of Friendship” and was presented as a gift of the Mexican government to the City of San Antonio in 2002. The sculpture represents two cultures, two languages, and two roads merging into one.

World's largest cowboy boots
The 40-foot-tall pair of cowboy boots situated at North Star Mall is hard to miss. The boots have been located there since 1979, but artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade actually built them in Washington, D.C., for an art project. The boots employ an intricate “Eiffel Tower” structure with crisscrossing steel elements and a hardcore concrete and fiberglass mix.

The boots were supposed to be transported on two flatbed trucks to San Antonio, but they didn’t fit, inspiring the country song “Too High, Too Wide and Too Long.” Wade’s work is now in the Guinness Book of World Records and is some of the first public artwork that newcomers see in San Antonio, if they happen to visit the mall. On Thursday, September 29, Wade will unveil his newest piece, "Roy & Trigger — San Antone —’43" at Down on Grayson restaurant. 

Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas
Most people passing by the Lila Cockrell Theatre have seen artist Juan O’Gorman’s famous mural stretching across the top. The muralist created the work to commemorate the 1968 Hemisfair World’s Fair, which was themed “The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas,” and to symbolize the progress made by merging civilizations and cultures in the Western Hemisphere.

Adam and Eve are depicted in the middle, European civilization is depicted on the right, and indigenous Meso-American civilization is on the left. 

Altars at El Día de Los Muertos Fest
Each year, community members are invited to participate in the annual tradition of paying loving tribute and remembering departed friends and family members by entering the altar contest and building their own altar for the Día de los Muertos Celebration at La Villita Historic Arts Village.

Scheduled for October 29-30 at La Villita, the artwork will be on view for the festival and the Day of the Dead celebration, traditionally celebrated November 1-2.