San Antonio artist creates large tile mural capturing history of Plaza de Armas

Iluminación De La Plaza was inspired by a historical site in downtown SA

SAN ANTONIO – The community is invited on Nov. 3 to join the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture to celebrate the completion of the city’s largest tile mural, Iluminación De La Plaza.

Created by San Antonio artist Christopher Montoya, the muralist and painter drew inspiration for the mural from the history of Plaza de Armas or Military Plaza.

The historic plaza was established in 1722 as a parade ground and market square for the Spanish soldiers stationed there.

“The plaza, it’s been used for so many things. It was used as a military hub. It evolved to a melting pot of people selling goods. There was dances and music,” Montoya said.

The mural is created from more than 972 individuals tiles and is the largest tile mural the department has completed.

“What you see here started as a painting on canvas,” Montoya said.

The painting was photographed and sent to a tile manufacturer in Florida.

The mural is placed on the building connected to the Spanish Governor’s Palace that is used as a gallery space and houses city departments.

“One pocket would have been the food and tables. A place to eat and gather. In another pocket it would have been live stock kind of coming in,” Montoya said.

There are several key elements featured, including a serape border that surrounds the mural and pays homage to the colorful garments commonly seen throughout the historic plaza. There is also a lantern hanging in the center that illuminates the plaza’s history.

Montoya is excited for the public mural unveiling at 10 a.m. on Nov. 3.

“I’m just extremely grateful,” Montoya said.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.