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New Mission Reach Art Portal Opens Near Mission San Juan

Yet another Art Portal to a Mission along the Museum Reach was opened last week. The San Antonio River Foundation is installing Art Portals at each departure from the Mission Reach, to tie the Reach to each Mission. 

Mission San Juan's Art Portal has huge steel sculptures that loom over the Mission Reach  right past where the Mission Drive bridge goes over it.

"It's eight sculptural metal pieces. They range in height roughly from 6 feet to 27 feet.  I'd say they kinda look like big hands, in the sky. We've also called 'em trees," the San Antonio River Foundation's Stuart Johnson said.  "The steel is treated with an oxidizing agent so that they look rusty, but that's actually keeping the metal from rusting away."

That's just one side of the two-sided pieces. Johnson says the other side is something altogether quite different.

"It is done in a series of colors that is representative of the wildflowers that he experienced on his first site visit."

That "he" is Arne Quinze, the Belgian Artist who created this installation. Quinze's signature color scheme is a bright orange red, but Johnson says here he was inspired to go a different direction.

"Purples and blues and even some yellows in it. He was so influenced by seeing the wildflowers that he wanted to put that in his piece."

The mulch surrounding the recently-completed installations has been seeded with wildflowers, so next spring the sculptures may be surrounded by the colors that inspired his creation.

"One of Arne's basic missions with doing this public art is to get the public to stop and think," Johnson said.

About that time a Mission Reach recreational user did just that: she stopped and contemplated the installation.

"Oh, I love this. I love the park, period," said Celia Vasquez. "To me they symbolize like a forest of trees. Very natural."

Two more San Antonio River Foundation Art installations are expected to be completed next year on the Mission Reach. 

For more on the San Antonio River Foundation go here

For more on Arne Quinze go here

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