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The Source: Should We Revise Public Art Funding In San Antonio?

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio

At the ribbon cutting for the expanded Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center about two weeks ago there was fanfare for the unveiling of “Liquid Crystal” – the black and silver 30- foot interactive art installation.

“Everybody stared at it – as I did – and wondered what in the world is this.”

Speaking Wednesday on the source District 9 City council member Joe Krier says he doesn’t like it. He says it looks like a giant cheese grater. And he certainly doesn’t like the one million dollar price tag.
“I have a fundamental question with spending that much money on one piece of art that is paid for by taxpayers – admittedly hotel motel tax payers.”

But the city has an ordinance that requires spending at least one percent of a capital project’s budget on public art. Crier says he wants to take another look at that ordinance. District one Council Member Robert Trevino says he also wants to discuss the one percent rule – but he wants to raise the minimum to 2 percent. He sees it as an investment.

“This community is steeped in art and I think we need to embrace the fact that we are a unique city – people visit us because of our unique buildings – our unique downtown – unique spaces – the art that is embraced here.”

Trevino says he likes “Liquid Crystal” and points out that the work is by Jason Bruges a world respected artist who exhibits in major cities around the world. In addition the work was selected by the city’s own public art board after an open competition.


  • Joe Krier, council member for district 9
  • Robert Trevino, council member for district 1
  • Eduardo Garcia, runs Duende Design, and is Vice-Chair of the Public Arts subcommittee at the San Antonio Arts Commission
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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi