Listen to: Texas Public Radio report >>

- Transcript of TPR report -

Soaring Public Art Dedicated On The East Side

By JACK MORGAN • JUL 31, 2015

New public art was dedicated Wednesday on San Antonio’s East Side. The City’s Felix Padron welcomed a crowd of several dozen who stood in Pittman-Sullivan Park beneath the sculpture, a soaring 32-foot tall steel and mesh arm and outstretched hand reaching skyward. "This is going to be an identity for this neighborhood for many, many years to come. The artist said that he was inspired by Martin Luther King to do this, and the title of the work is, “Open Hand, Open Mind, Open Heart." Patron explained.

The NAACP’s Bill Burman said he’s pleased to the see the sculpture's completion along the park's walking trail that was dedicated last December. Boston artist Douglas Kornfeld created the sculpture. He’s attended some of the city’s annual MLK marches which end at this park. Onlookers seemed to think Kornfeld captured a sense of the neighborhood.

Burman liked the sculpture for a lot of reasons, with one of the biggest being that it wasn't shut away behind the closed doors of a museum. "That’s the good thing about public art—it’s accessible. It’s visible and it’s free." District 2 City Councilman Alan Warrick said the art will give nearby residents a pride in their community.

“Just like the statue of Dr. King down the street, people will stop here and take pictures because it’s really an icon at the scale that it’s at. People are going to use this as a landmark in their community as well," said Warrick. Warrick thinks that public art can do things in a community that are hard to measure.

"A piece of art is always something that can-especially one that’s so iconic-that can really change community sentiment and can really move things forward in the right direction. So hopefully this is a tipping point for positive change in our community."

Community Member Aubrey Lewis was also inspired and philosophical. “At the end of the MLK March... people will be able to come by and touch that hand, hand of peace,” he said.