January 11, 2014 Slideshows » News

The Sky Over the Hill: a Student-Designed Mural In Government Hill 

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January 10, 2014
Photos by Albert Salazar
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Albert Salazar
“El Cielo Sobre La Loma,” the latest mural in San Anto Cultural Arts’ Public Arts Program was unveiled Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church Community Center in the historic Government Hill Neighborhood. The mural was designed and painted by sophomores at City Center Health Careers Charter School.
Albert Salazar
In one portion of the mural, the Virgin Mary overlooks St. Patrick Catholic Church, alongside Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, a repurposed airplane hanger where blacks and hispanics used to worship during segregation.
Albert Salazar
Bookending the first portion of “El Cielo Sobre La Loma” is a large depiction of St. Patrick holding his trademark shamrock and green vestments.
Albert Salazar
The second portion of the mural includes a depiction of I-35, the interstate “El Cielo Sobre La Loma” overlooks. John Medina and his students chose to paint I-35’s construction as a reminder that the highway disconnected Government Hill from the adjacent neighborhood, and uprooted a number of homes to make way for the transportation artery.
Albert Salazar
To depict City Center Health Careers Charter School’s connection to the Government Hill neighborhood, students choose to paint a handshake, one hand with skin and one without. The anatomical detail is reminiscent of medical diagrams John Medina noticed in a number of the charter school’s classrooms.
Albert Salazar
The final portion of the mural showcases the neighborhood’s connection to Fort Sam Houston. Included is the military installation’s distinctive clock tower and a rendering of the Combat Medic Memorial, which stands in front of the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum.
Albert Salazar
A number of community members contributed photos detailing Government Hill’s historic past for inspiration. Students choose to include a Depression-era, zoot suit-clad musician from one of the photos.
Albert Salazar
Rev. Andrew Kazadi of St. Patrick Catholic Church recites a prayer as he blesses the mural.
Albert Salazar
City Center Health Careers Charter School students place their hands on the mural during the blessing.
Albert Salazar
San Anto Cultural Arts’ John Medina addresses City Center Health Careers Charter School students and Government Hill residents who have gathered for the unveiling of “El Cielo Sobre La Loma.”
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Albert Salazar
San Anto Cultural Arts’ John Medina poses with his City Center Health Careers Charter School students. Medina spent an entire semester teaching students about the mural tradition and helped them design and paint a vibrant 120-foot mural that reflected the surrounding Government Hill neighborhood.
Albert Salazar
Government Hill resident Beatriz Cortez, stands beside her likeness. Long-active in Communities Organized for Public Service (C.O.P.S.), Cortez was included in the mural to represent the neighborhood’s strong tradition of community service. Neighborhood residents met with students to share their insight on Government Hill’s history and to provide input on what to include in the mural.
Albert Salazar
City Center Health Careers Charter School sophomores Abraham Ontiveros and Patricia Castañeda stand in front of their favorite portion of “El Cielo Sobre La Loma.” The two were students in John Medina’s class and took part in the mural’s painting and design.
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Albert Salazar
“El Cielo Sobre La Loma,” the latest mural in San Anto Cultural Arts’ Public Arts Program was unveiled Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church Community Center in the historic Government Hill Neighborhood. The mural was designed and painted by sophomores at City Center Health Careers Charter School.

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