San Antonio River Walk blooms with vibrant new public art installation

San Antonio River Walk blooms with vibrant new art installation

Blooms art installation San Antonio
The new installation is one in a series of seven "Bloom" works taking root in San Antonio.   Courtesy of Machina Cinema

There’s no beating around the bush: Downtown San Antonio is in bloom with giant native wildflowers.

City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture and its Public Art Division have unveiled the latest pieces in the “Bloom” sculpture series created by local artist Leticia Huerta: two works designed to resemble yellow columbine and lantana wildflowers.

Planted at the River Walk Public Art Garden downtown, the new installation is the second in a series of seven planned “Bloom” installations to be added throughout San Antonio by summer 2022. The first “Bloom” installation is located at the entrance of the Mud Creek Trail at McAllister Park.

The public art project — meant to help educate locals about the many public art installations throughout the city and encourage visitors to explore art at the area’s parks, greenways, and trails — is a collaboration between Huerta and local fabrication company Wanderlust Ironworks. The two new oversized metal flowers were inspired by local wildflowers and upon close inspection, resemble something akin to giant bicycle parts, and that’s intentional. Regardless of how the works may be perceived, they are quite mesmerizing.

“These sculptures incorporate elements that resemble bicycle parts to reflect San Antonio’s numerous hike-and-bike trails,” Huerta says. “Bicycle parts also have a similarity to flower anatomy, so I use them to describe the native flowers of San Antonio that are seen along the trails. I am very proud of this project because it is my first time creating large-scale, free-standing sculptures as a public art project, so this artwork was a huge leap for me.”

Additional “Bloom” series installations in San Antonio include those at:

  • Apache Creek at Brazos Pocket Park, unveiling this spring
  • Salado Creek at Eisenhower Park, unveiling this spring
  • Salado Creek at Southside Lions Park, unveiling this fall
  • Alazan Creek at Farias Park, unveiling in spring 2022
  • Leon Creek at Tezel Road Facility, unveiling in summer 2022

“The ‘Bloom’ series is a perfect example of how public art expands the viewer’s mind in both artistic and educational ways while also serving a real purpose,” says Debbie Racca-Sittre, the executive director of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture. “‘Bloom’ serves as trailhead connectors and wayfinding markers and even a scientific purpose on the greenway and park installations, with silver rings on the flower stems to indicate various water levels when San Antonio receives rain.”