Sculpture featuring Selena song lyric cost taxpayers $360,000

SBG Photo

SAN ANTONIO - Coming to the South Side of town: A $360,000 sculpture at the intersection of I-35 and Zarzamora Street.

Artist Cruz Ortiz says the "Dream Song Tower" was inspired by "what has always been here on this corner and this side of town" and the folklore and history of San Antonio.

"I went to the stories. The stories that my parents, all my friends' parents would say," explained Ortiz about his inspiration.

The sculpture features the Selena lyric "Dreaming of You," although it is not solely about Selena.

"The inspiration for my sculpture was based on the location. That was really the focus. It is a representation of the culture, dreams and aspiration of the South Side community. The images are based on Mexican American folklore that families have been passing down to their children for generations that have populated their dreams. We are dreamers, too," Ortiz said in a statement. "Please do not manipulate this with a pop culture narrative. This is a love letter to and from the South Side."

"There's a beauty in the text, in the lyrics of all songs," said Ortiz. "I'm a huge Vicente Fernández fan. I love Selena. I also love Johnny Cash, George Strait, Townes Van Zandt. All those things talk about one thing. They talk about love."

“It became an understanding of what folklore means and the beauty of these stories and myths and how they created a culture on the South Side also for Latinos. So it's very huge and important to go up,” said Ortiz

The 60-foot steel tower has visuals that make it unique. The “teepee” shaped sculpture has moving components depicting flying birds and spinning stars that will move with the wind.

“Because of its location, it’s a gateway project into San Antonio from South Texas,” explained Ortiz. “The actual structure is based on Native American architecture.”

The San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture says the taxpayer funded project should be completed sometime this weekend.

So where did the city find $360,000 taxpayer dollars to pay for this sculpture?

Debbie Racca-Sittre, the Director of the San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, explained in a statement, “Through federal community development block grant funds for catalytic projects aimed at revitalization of urban neighborhoods, and neighborhood access mobility program funds from the city for sidewalk improvements at the site. This sculpture, located in a ‘gateway’ to San Antonio’s South Side, not only adds needed improvements to the area where it is located, but through Cruz Ortiz’s art, celebrates the spirit of the surrounding neighborhoods and instills pride for all San Antonians."

“It was initiated by District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña,” said Ortiz. “If you go travel to other cities, there’s public art on every corner. It’s so important.”

“Already, the response to Cruz’s sculpture has been overwhelming. And, rightfully so. It’s an exciting project for the residents of District 4 and the entire city. I look forward to joining Cruz and the community early next year to officially unveil and dedicate this great new San Antonio landmark and gateway to our South Side neighborhoods," said Councilman Saldaña in a statement.

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