Word art in downtown San Antonio brings message of joy

Installation is part of Centro San Antonio’s Art Everywhere initiative

Next time you drive through downtown San Antonio, keep your eyes on the road to see the newly installed art mural.

SAN ANTONIO – Next time you drive through downtown San Antonio, keep your eyes on the road to see the newly installed art mural.

Surrounding Travis Park on East Pecan, Jefferson and Travis streets, you’ll notice yellow letters that make up San Antonio Poet Laureate, Andrea Vocab Sanderson’s words that celebrate dark skin.

The word art reads: “Jubilant and exuberant is the melanin of our skin. From despair we have arisen.”

Word Art image 2. (KSAT)

According to Vocab Sanderson, the poetry is meant to bring joy as well as amplify the 2020 Civil Rights Movement’s call for systematic reforms.

“I hope that people understand that we’ve already arisen from a place of despair, even though we may be in a current state where we may be shut down or partially in (or out of) quarantine,” Vocab Sanderson said. “We are fighting levels of systematic oppression and racism.”

Volunteers, artist and Centro San Antonio staff made up the more than 20 people that helped chalk and paint the street mural beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. Close to 50 gallons of non-toxic yellow paint were used to create the frame around Travis Park.

Centro San Antonio’s CEO, Matt Brown, was also present to help the team.

“It was awesome,” Brown said. “It has been one the best nights of my professional career, for sure. I feel like it’s a little piece of history in the making.”

The yellow street art was inspired by other Black Lives Matter artwork seen across the nation including in Washington, D.C.

“It’s so important to me to give people a message of hope during this time. A lot of people feel hopeless for one reason or another,” Vocab Sanderson said. “This was my form of resistance for those who feel kind of like stuck in a place where they know they need a glimmer of something to get them through.”

Centro San Antonio said the location was strategically chosen in partnership with the City of San Antonio.

“Right now, Travis Park, for us, has become a centerpiece of the community coming together to address big, critical systemic issues,” Brown said. “It’s kind of like a communal civic center, and so, this piece of art really blends nicely with the importance of Travis Park and its meaning to downtown.”

Community members and visitors will be able to see the mural at Travis Park before it begins to fade out around January of next year.

For more information of Centro San Antonio and its initiatives, click here.

About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.