SAN ANTONIO — Six artists have created new murals throughout San Antonio as part of the city's latest initiative to encourage residents to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“A ribbon is always an easy way to kind of highlight the subject of a tattoo, and so I felt like the ribbon would be appropriate to tie the message to the mural,” said Gerardo Garcia, the creator of a new mural at 5401 SW Military (it can be seen in the gallery below).
Garcia wanted to draw on his experience as a tattoo artist to give his new mural a personal touch.
“We were advised to use black and white with accents of burgundy or red,” he said.
It’s one of six murals around San Antonio commissioned by city officials as part of its What Will It Take campaign.
“It’s included songs from local musicians, a grassroots program where we’re out in the community handing out paletas and vaccine information, but I think these murals really tie it all together,” said Laura Mayes, a spokesperson for the city.
Each of artistic new efforts were created by a different San Antonio artist who added their own personal touches and details. But, ultimately, the uniting message is clear: Get vaccinated.
“They really just speak to the community through art,” Mayes said. “It’s easy to tune out a billboard or public service announcement, but if you pause and look at some beautiful artwork, you’re also getting a public service announcement of getting vaccinated.”
The murals can be found at:
- District 1 - Marriage and Family Institute of San Antonio, 1528 N. Main Ave | Artist: James “Supa” Medrano
- District 2 - First Stop, 2553 East Houston | Artist: Kaldrick Dow
- District 3 - Highland Food Mart, 2402 Hicks Ave. | Artist: Ana Hernandez
- District 4 - Fiesta Grocery, 7208 Brook Valley Dr. | Artist: Gerardo Garcia
- District 5 - Neighborhood Store, 2202 South Flores St. | Artist: Rubio
- District 7 - Jefferson Bodega, 1005 Donaldson Ave. | Artist: Kim Bishop
Mayes said the locations chosen for the new murals are no accident.
“We had a lot of data to look at of who was getting impacted by COVID, what businesses were being hurt by COVID," she said. “When we selected these murals, we picked the areas that had been hardest-hit by the pandemic.”
Garcia said he believes artists have a responsibility to serve the community, adding there’s no more important cause to rally around right now than vaccinations. For him, the power of public art lies in its ability to connect people with a message.
“This is no longer my piece. It belongs to the community,” he said. “Specifically, here in this neighborhood.”