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Interactive Lighted Waterfall Artwork Tested On San Pedro Creek

The San Antonio River Authority reports a recent test of an interactive lighted waterfall on San Pedro Creek went well, but there is still some tweaking to do.

Carrie Brown, the public art curator for the river authority, said they tried with the test to achieve a particular effect. The 200-foot wide artwork is titled “Stream.”

Brooklyn, New York-based artist Adam Frank designed the piece. Lights in the waterfall will sync to voices or music the bronze microphone at the site will pick up.

“What we are doing now is writing the software that translates the sounds into driving all of these lights. There will be more than a hundred lights inside the waterfall,” he said.

When the 1940’s style microphone planned for the site is not picking up nearby sound, the lighted waterfall will react to the voices and music of Texas Public Radio. Its offices and studios are located nearby.

Frank has designed public art for cities around the world. He said all of his work is inspired by the site it sits in.

“This site has a deep, deep musical history, and it is right next door to Texas Public Radio, so what we wanted to do here is merge the sounds and music created by the San Antonio Community with the flow of the San Pedro Creek,“ he explained.

The waterfall sits in a stretch of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park between Houston and Nueva, and that segment should be completed in early 2021.

Progress is underway on two other creekside art projects.

“Rooted in History” will trace Bexar County’s 300 year history. Bexar County commissioners will consider approving the murals this month.

Work also continues on a stainless steel sculpture titled “Creek Lines.” The sculpture will capture rainfall at its top and release the water at its center to create a temporary waterfall. It was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The county has spent more than $180 million on the four phase linear creek park project, which runs for more than two miles through the West Side of downtown from I-35 and Santa Rosa in the north to the confluence of the Alazan and Apache Creeks in the south.

Besides artwork and water features, it includes wide sidewalks, benches, landscaping and public performance areas.

Half of the project, mostly to the north, has either been completed or remains under construction.

Much of the lower half of the linear creek park remains in the planning or design phase. It is expected to be more rustic than the upper half of the park.

It remains years away from total completion. Work began on the whole project in November 2016.

The heavy construction work includes the relocation of utilities, the widening of San Pedro Creek to handle more floodwaters, and the installation of wider street bridges over the creek.

The completed project is expected to bring $1.5 billion in economic growth, add $227 million in new property tax revenue and create 2,000 new housing units.

Downtown workers and residents are already using a completed stretch of the creek project on the northern end for lunch breaks, toe-dipping or a walk or run.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian