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February 1, 2023

Flipping through: ‘Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio’

A new book celebrates public art in the Alamo City

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“Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio” (Schiffer Publishing, 2022) provides an expansive look at the vibrant public art found throughout the Alamo City from 2016 to 2022. Featuring nearly 300 photographs representing the art of more than 230 artists, the publication’s co-authors, photographer Frederick R. Preston and Texas state poet laureate Carmen Tafolla, chronicle everything from intricate mosaics to monumental sculptures across each San Antonio neighborhood.

The publication begins with a foreword by San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg. His opening words express civic pride regarding the city’s art and culture. He writes: “There is no doubt that public art – from the iconic La Antorcha de la Amistad by Sebastián to lesser-known works such as the Justicia mural on Buena Vista Law Office – played a big role in helping make our city an internationally renowned cultural destination.”

Arte del Pueblo

In their introduction, Preston and Tafolla share their thoughts on the history of San Antonio’s public art along with its importance to the community, calling their book “a visual story of the people of this place, reflecting the history, culture, and spirit of a great American city.”

“Arte del Pueblo” is divided into seven thematic sections: an overview of San Antonio’s public art; a visual history of the city; artworks near waterways; art in the West Side neighborhood; art in highly trafficked areas; graffiti and street art; and individual profiles of 11 San Antonio artists. The resulting pages feature a visually diverse collection of installations, mosaics, murals, sculptures, and more by artists ranging from early-career to established.

Cruz Ortiz
Cruz Ortiz, “Untitled,” (2019) at The 68 Apartments/ Photo by Frederick R. Preston; Courtesy of Schiffer Publishing


The book wraps up with a selection of self-guided tours, providing readers with meaningful ways to see some of the artworks.

Preston and Tafolla say their goal with the “Arte del Pueblo” is to “enable the reader to feel the heartbeat of [San Antonio’s] dynamic present, as well as to hear the echo of its past.” I would say that they have succeeded.

Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio’
By Frederick R. Preston and Carmen Tafolla
208 pages
Schiffer Publishing, 2022


Caleb Bell
Caleb Bellhttp://www.cbellprojects.com/
Caleb Bell is a writer and the curator at the Tyler Museum of Art. Bell’s writing and curatorial practices work to expand the conversation around creativity and connect audiences with art.

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