The City of San Antonio unveiled two bold initiatives this week: a public arts project and a grant program designed to give local creative organizations a financial boost during the pandemic.
Connecting San Antonio
On Wednesday, July 8, the city unveiled Green Spaces at Market Street, a series of painted steel railings on the Land Bridge, located at the corner of Market and Alamo streets and overlooking the River Walk.
The piece, created by San Antonio artists Ashley Mireles and Cade Bradshaw, along with Stephen Stimson Studio Landscape Architects, was designed for the dual purpose of helping visitors view the surrounding wildlife as well as connecting the popular tourist attraction to other parts of downtown. Its installation on the Land Bridge both literally and metaphorically connects two neighborhoods, beginning in District 8 and ending in District 9.
“The Land Bridge is the only bridge of its kind and it is right here in San Antonio,” said District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez in a release. “The Green Spaces at Market Street project is a perfect opportunity to entice River Walk visitors to explore outside of the immediate downtown area and learn just how much our city has to offer them.”
The piece is composed of steel cutouts inspired by San Antonio's flora and fauna and is designed to help visitors safely observe the River Walk and wildlife from the bridge.
Green Spaces at Market Street is the first in a series of public works projects designed as part of the River Walk Public Art Garden, which rambles along Market Street between Bowie and Alamo streets. Now in its second phase, the art garden is scheduled for completion in 2022.
An artistic lifeline
On Friday, July 10, the City of San Antonio also announced the opening of its SA CARES 4 Art Grant Program. The grant is part of the city's Department of Arts & Culture and will distribute $2.6 million in funding to San Antonio-based artists and arts nonprofits.
Nonprofits will take the bulk — $2 million — while the city is allocating $600,000 to individual artists.
“The SA CARES 4 Art Grant Program showcases just what its name states – that San Antonio truly cares for art. And we are boosting the economy by helping nonprofits and creative entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a release. “By reserving a portion of the federal relief funding the City of San Antonio received for the arts, we support the very thing that makes San Antonio the thriving and vibrant city we, visitors and businesses love.”
Applications are open now through July 30. To qualify, applicants must have experienced business disruption between March 13, 2020 and December 30, 2020 due to COVID-19 social distancing and closure requirements. Nonprofits deemed a "Culturally Specific" organization — one whose mission is to preserve, promote, or enhance the identity of women and racial minorities — are eligible to receive an additional 5 percent in funding.