River Re-Development Roundup Part 4: Museum Reach Preview

Next week, (coming out 5/27), the Current brings you a mega-special feature on the May 30th opening of the San Antonio River's “Museum Reach” re-development: what we like, what we're dubious about, and what we think it means for the city and the arts. Many images, interviews, history, hopefully some maps, and some recommendations. So look for that.

Here's some backstory, if you want:

“Quickie guide” to Museum reach public art (written in December)

Photo-heavy blog post about the San Antonio Museum of Art River Landing (also written in December)

A blog post about a the recent Rivert-tini fundraiser, in case you want to play the drinking game version with Blanca Aldaco's winning Cucumber Martini, written a couple of weeks ago.

Elaine Wolff and I took a tour of the museum reach today, with various members of the San Anto press, and San Antonio River Foundation board members, staff, and partners. We'll go more into detail next week about it all, but I wanted to give y'all a sneak peek (and a blind item! Read on!).

As always, I apologize for the bad photo quality. We will have better images in the paper.

San Antonio's own Brooklyn Bridge, seen from the new (and very cool) dam and lock system which regulates flooding while letting boats through. Note presence of actual H2O in river â?? this just happened last week. It's back! Nice to see. It was sort of disconcerting as a ditch.

Press peeps on lock bridge platform. Note hardhats. Serious business y'all.

Elaine Wolff and Mike Addkison, Art & Architecture Project Manager for the San Antonio River Foundation, who has about the coolest job in the world.

Feet of people who do the footwork. Respect.

Here's the back of VFW Post 76, the oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Texas! VFW 76 is the best place to drink cold tallboys by the river, whether you're a veteran or not. I highly recommend their patio and their “dressed” Dos Equis.

Here's a photo of the front, taken by me in January from inside a car:

This is some verbiage about the dam they unearthed just between the VFW and SAMA.

Donald Lipski's amazing Fish installation from a distance!


â?¦these are more interesting and fun than I expected, and they light up at night!

This bad photo gives one a better sense of scale than the others. Each fish measures seven feet in length. Remember this for later.

SAMA's river landing. SO EXTREMELY COOL.

More SAMA river landing.

By the way, the irrigation for all the new plants, as well as the river itself, currently, are all re-used water. The purple pipes/hoses/fixtures denote water that is “reused.” Nice!

BUT LOOKY HERE! Not even open yet, and already somebody's thrown their Styrofoam cups into this water feature. BOOO, SAN ANTO. See, this is why we can't have nice things.

I'm kidding, of course.

But don't be litterbugs, c'mon.

Allright, and now for the promised “Blind Item,” which I'm going to do in dialogue form, because I'm in a phase. This Blind Item concerns a member of the SATX media (a.k.a “Press Person”) member of the River Foundation gang (a.k.a. “River Person”), and the awesome Donald Lipski fish installation.

Based on audio recording.


River Person has just given a little presentation wherein (s)he explained that Donald Lipski initially planned to install goldfish, but that the Long-eared Sunfish was used instead, as it's native to our river. Lipski worked with the “3-time champion taxidermist” from Florida to recreate 25 7-foot sunfish.

Press Person (in a well-projected, loud, “getting-to-the-bottom-of-this” voice): So these fish are from this river?

River Person: That's right!

Press Person: And the artist was originally going to do goldfish?

River Person: That's right, but the long-eared sunfish is native, soâ??

Press Person: Do these fish live ONLY in THIS river?

River Person: No, no, they live all over the South, in streams and rivers, from here to Florida.

Press Person (pointing to river): Are they in there RIGHT NOW?

River Person (a little baffled): â?¦The sunfish?

Press Person: Right.

River Person (slightly apologetically): Um, no. We only just put the water back in last week, so the fish aren't here quite yet.

Press Person: Are you going to stock the river with these sunfish?

River Person: Noâ?¦the fish, they swim both up and downstream, and they'll make it up here themselves.

Press Person (seemingly slightly exasperated): Are you going to stock it with ANYTHING?

River Person (polite, but a little puzzled): Noâ?¦.

Press Person (changing line of questioning in very investigative way): So this taxidermist, he made models of these fish?

River Person: Yes, he's the champion taxidermist in North America!

Press Person (in the throes of an "a-ha!" moment): But you had to increase the size, right?!

(Note to reader, just to remind you: actual long eared sunfish are 6 to 8 inches long. Lipski's sunfish are SEVEN FEET LONG.)

River Person (very patiently): Yes.

Another River Person (chiming in): A seven-foot fish filet would be awesome, though.


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