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Arts & Culture

Cost Overruns Delay Art Installation In San Pedro Creek Improvement Project

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada
An artists rendering of "Plethora."

The San Pedro Creek Improvements Project got some unwelcome news, according to the San Antonio River Authority, which manages the project.

SARA’s public art curator Carrie Brown said that unwelcome news centers around the cost overruns for a large 45-foot-tall by 20-feet-wide piece of art titled "Plethora," which was commissioned by the county in celebration of the tricentennial.

Artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada designed the project and it's the single largest work of art in the improvements project, she said.

Brown said the face is made of curved pieces of parallel aluminum, but Rodriguez-Gerada’s original choice of building material was determined not the best for the structure.

"That happens a lot in public art projects, where an artist may come forward with a design concept through a proposal process, and as you get into the engineering and the further development of the design — and also bringing on a fabricator — you really start to get into the weeds of the materials and how the thing gets put together,” Brown said. “And through that process, it was determined that steel would be a much better material … not only for structural stability, but for long term maintenance, as well as working with steel in the fabrication process."

Credit San Antonio River Authority
A mural just north of Houston Street as part of the San Pedro River restoration project.

The estimate for the aluminum structure was $735,000, but that bid for structural steel will go up, she said.

“We are waiting for that final number from the artist so then we can figure out the best way to move forward,” she said.

Brown added the piece won't be completed by the May 5 opening of the project's first phase. There is no timeline for completing the installation. SARA hopes to finish with the entire San Pedro Creek Improvements Project in 2024.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org
TPR's Tricentennial project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.