Open-air art gallery is SA's newest landmark

Unveiling Saturday for 16 murals under downtown overpass

SAN ANTONIO – Neglected no longer, the I-35 overpass at North St. Mary’s and Quincy streets has become an open-air art gallery thanks to the San Antonio Street Art Initiative and some downtown developers. 

Already out there for all to see, 16 artists are putting the finishing touches on concrete pillars that served as canvases for their murals, which will be unveiled Saturday evening. The event, from 6-11 p.m., will also be a celebration, with food trucks and music.

David Adelman said he and his partner, Barclay Anthony, were “happy to support” the endeavor.

James Sykes, a real estate broker, said Adelman had a ground lease with the Texas Department of Transportation for a parking lot beneath I-35 for nearby new and renovated buildings.

“Activating a space into more than just another ‘parking lot’ and enhancing people’s lives through visual art was a no brainer,” Adelman said in a statement. “Hopefully, we are enabling a more walkable environment for people whether they live or work in the neighborhood, hopefully both, or are just visiting.” 

Shek Vega, one of the artists and a founder of the Street Art Initiative, said he and artist Nik Soupe had worked on other projects with Sykes, who then introduced them to Adelman.

Vega said he and Soupe had started Los Otros Murals, but they also wanted to get other artists involved in raising the visibility and appreciation of street art.

He said Adelman shared their vision, leading to the murals throughout the parking lot.

Vega said they consider the outdoor art gallery San Antonio’s newest landmark, adding to the growth already underway just north of downtown.

“It’s great that we have an opportunity to include artwork into it,” Vega said.  

Vega said the initiative is privately funded, so future projects depend on further support.

“All of this is possible by people who believe this is a necessity in the city," he said.

While the project has been well received by members of the community, Hernan Rozemberg, a spokesperson for TxDOT said the agency wasn't aware of the project and would have preferred to have received notice of the project.

"As a member of the San Antonio community, TxDOT is very supportive of the creative process and the public arts," Rozemberg said. "In this particular case, we were not aware of this group and their project and we would have preferred if they had approached us before they started so we could be on the same page from the beginning.

"The concern is that in many places we do experience vandalism on our property and obviously that's unacceptable. However, the San Antonio Street Art Initiative is clearly well-intended and these murals are most definitely visually stunning.

"The bottom line is that we'd prefer to approach this type of effort on a collaborative basis. But, again, we want to reiterate that TxDOT embraces any positive effort to bring the community together to celebrate talented artists."

About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.