San Antonio opening plaza in River Walk Art Garden to recognize contributions of labor leaders

Labor Plaza will replace a statue of labor leader Samuel Gompers, which was removed due to structural damaged caused by exposure to the elements.

click to enlarge Downtown's Labor Plaza is dedicated to commemorating labor leaders in the United States and across the country. - Courtesy Photo / City of San Antonio
Courtesy Photo / City of San Antonio
Downtown's Labor Plaza is dedicated to commemorating labor leaders in the United States and across the country.
On Monday, Sept. 5 — Labor Day — San Antonio will celebrate the opening of Labor Plaza, the newest element in downtown's River Walk Public Art Garden.

The redesigned plaza, located across from the Henry B. González Convention Center,
replaces a sculpture of labor leader Samuel Gompers created by Jean Alden in 1982. The city removed the sculpture due to structural damage caused by years of exposure to the elements.

San Antonio's Department of Arts & Culture collaborated with the AFL-CIO to design the public space commemorating labor leaders in San Antonio and throughout the U.S. Alamo City-based landscape architect Terra Design Group crafted the layout.

A variety of artworks and etchings will be on display in the plaza, including a poem by San Antonio Poet Laureate Octavio Quintanilla and an excerpt from the labor anthem “Solidarity Forever” by Ralph Chapin.

Biographical etchings will recognize eight celebrated figures in San Antonio's labor movement. A sculptural series by Washington-based artist Reis Niemi, Remember Everything, will represent the freedom that labor leaders fought for in the United States.

“Labor Plaza is a tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of labor leaders throughout the history of San Antonio,” Department of Arts & Culture Executive Director Krystal Jones said in an emailed statement. “We hope that the community will find this space to be engaging, inspiring and educational as we commemorate the labor movement from the past to the present.”

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