The success of public art has allowed the City of El Paso to enhance local communities and neighborhoods, converting them into visual landmarks and sources of inspiration, education and pride for residents and visitors alike. In the creation of Public Art, the City of El Paso Public Art Program has instilled self-esteem, a better understanding and reflection of our community, and respect for our diverse histories, communities and cultures. Through Public Art, we ultimately define our City of El Paso.
Here are El Paso’s top five public art installations already on display.
The Airway project features an array of 50-foot tall illuminated wind turbines and ground-level sculptures that light up at night. The sculptures are designed to resemble desert plants. The lights are programmable LEDs that change colors based on upcoming seasons or community events, such as UTEP games. Other improvements include freshly painted columns, new wall patterns, native plants and landscape lighting. The sculptures will be illuminated everyday from dusk to dawn.
Location: Interstate 10 and Airway Blvd.
Artist: Vicki Scuri
The sculpture is inspired by the ocotillo plants around our desert region. The artwork located in the roundabout is an interpretation which takes the plant as a starting point, and acts as a kind of homage to the foliage of the area.
Location: 12274 Pebble Hills Blvd., traffic circle.
Artist: Howard Kalish
Aguacero was commissioned as a welcoming gateway for commuters traveling northbound into El Paso. Aguacero is a 45-ft tall abstract steel sculpture evoking an El Paso desert downpour. The outlines are that of storm clouds which, when they appear in the desert skies, immediately release their rain; soon afterwards with the torrent touching the ground.
Location: 1000 S. Santa Fe St, downtown.
4. UTEP’s Mining Minds
Mining Minds is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance The University of Texas at El Paso campus. At night, lights illuminate the steel structure while LEDs emanate from the perforated ones and zeros at each end of the pick. On special occasions, the pick will be illuminated blue and orange.
Location: Traffic circle at Sun Bowl & University, UTEP.
Artist: Michael Clapper
5. The Equestrian
The Equestrian, formally known “Juan de Onate” is the world’s largest equestrian bronze. The massive statue, which stands 36 feet tall, is made up of 400 pieces. It consumed nearly 10 tons of bronze and requires more than 4.5 tons of supporting steel. The artwork portrays Mexican conquistador Don Juan de Onate riding a rearing Andalusian stallion.
Location: El Paso International Airport, Airway blvd.
Artist: John Houser
As of fall, 2014, the El Paso Public Art Program has completed 44 projects and has 22 new projects underway. The program is expected to generate some $13 million in funding for public art, over the course of a decade.
These are our top five public art installations in El Paso. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.
Text and photos courtesy city of El Paso Public Art Program/Museums and Cultural Affairs Department.