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Art Installation Where You'd Least Expect It

I was on a hike with my wife in a local nature park and came across some surprising public art. We were at Crownridge Canyon Natural Area in San Antonio’s northwest hills. Stopping for a drink of water to start the hike, we found something unexpected. At the bathroom, there’s a great big exterior wall covered in tile. I found out that Oscar Alvarado is the Public Artist who created the sizable mural.

“Basically it was going to be an educational tool for students who came through and talk about the importance of the water cycles in the hill country, and how it sort of feeds San Antonio’s water system.”

And really, that’s precisely what the mural does. It doesn’t just show color. It’s a scene. And it’s science. Alvarado described how it looks.

“A small rain storm, in the hills, filling up a creek.”

That rain storm and the "rain" its depositing flows down the wall, but then at the bottom of that wall the tile hits the concrete slab—and the mural continues on it. Alvarado continued his description.

“The water runs down and then we go onto these Fibonacci Swirls.”  

Fibonacci was an 11th Century Italian Mathematician who used math to describe natural phenomena. But the mural doesn't look mathematical. To your eye at the Crownridge Canyon mural, picture nice swirls of color arcing ever outward.

“The stream that grows on the ground there empties out right where the—there’s a rooftop water collection there that’s part of the structure—the water actually comes out where that stream comes out" said Alvarado.

In other words, rooftop collection water pours out onto the ground right where the watery-looking tile ends. It’s art...that’s modeled after life. Alvarado collaborated with artist Jeannette MacDougal on the idea conceived by landscape architect Larry Clark. People really seem to get the mural’s purpose.

“And it felt real good to hear that.”

Here's what the mural looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjRbMNGSqts&feature=youtu.be&list=UUMtOu74eKZGWdewUmTWIU-Q

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii