SAN ANTONIO – With a few strokes of her paintbrush, Raisa Melendez moved into a whole new phase of a mural project that she still can’t believe is happening.
“I never thought that I would get such a huge wall and be told, ‘Go ahead and paint on it,’” she said.
Melendez is one of six artists who were selected during a city-wide search earlier this year to each paint a mural on a wall at Travis Park Church.
The common theme they were given was to help spread the downtown church’s message that all are welcome.
After months of planning and fundraising, the project finally began moving forward a few weeks ago.
“I chose Black Lives Matter and I also intertwined the religious theme to it by adding the cross,” Melendez said, describing the colorful design she was hand-painting. “Just the fact that I was picked to do this definitely reflects that message of all are welcome.”
Albert Gonzales focused on resilience with his design, but in a somewhat abstract way.
“We see this flower go through this really tough time and it gets replenished with water, being a symbol of that love and faith,” he said.
Gonzales said although he has been painting murals for several years, he was delighted to be chosen to work on this project.
For Hailey Marmolejo, this is one of only a few big opportunities that she has had like this.
She has been painting for less than two years.
“I couldn’t believe I was selected out of so many incredible artists,” she said.
Her design, which features what she describes as “an all-seeing eye” above fists of protest, is all about “Latino culture and the story of San Antonio and just empowerment to the people.”
Marmolejo said she expects it to take about two weeks for her to finish her mural.
Others, including Gonzales, seemed to already have a head start.
His was nearly complete at the time of this interview.
The other artists involved in the project include Rhys Munro, Victor Zarazua and Scotch! Willington.
As we previously reported, Travis Park Church created the mural project to coincide with the celebration of its 175th anniversary.
The church had launched a $1.75 million fundraising campaign to pay for the mural project as well as other needed repairs to its facility.