After a few months of redesign, Bexar County commissioners unanimously approved a new public art piece for San Pedro Creek Culture Park where Plethora was once destined to stand.
Bridge Projects artists Stuart Allen and Cade Bradshaw presented a redesign of Creek Lines, which they first presented to the commissioners in February. Creek Lines will be featured at Plaza de Fundación in the same place Plethora was supposed to occupy. The original art piece was scrapped after costs rose far beyond its budget.
The new Creek Lines design includes a stainless steel reflective canopy and metal poles that mimic the curves of San Pedro Creek, as well as a slit through the canopy to allow rainwater to fall through as a natural water feature. The concept of celebrating San Pedro Creek remains the same, Allen said.
County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez praised Allen and Bradshaw’s work on changing the design to fit commissioners’ and public input. Commissioners voted to delay approving the project in February and asked the artists to consider making the project more “grand in size.”
“I know we gave some very colorful and constructive feedback,” Rodriguez said. “Maximizing the budget was helpful, and you guys turned it back to us with something more grand and deserving of that spot on the creek with its relevance to the historic nature … So thank you for doing that. I think it’s a great design.”
The artwork’s size did not increase in height, but did expand in width, Bradshaw said. The poles range from 20 feet to 22 feet high and are arranged in a 24 foot-by-28 foot area.
Because of the added canopy, “it feels a lot bigger,” Bradshaw explained.
There are also only five shapes among the 30 poles, which allows viewers to see different designs depending on their vantage point, Bradshaw said.
Allen said the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) offered to take on the costs of the educational aspect of their proposal, allowing Bridge Projects to dedicate the full $425,000 toward the art piece itself. Bridge Projects originally intended to use $125,000 of the Creek Lines budget toward developing an educational component.
“The River Authority has a significant educational program, and we focus that education on the watershed and understanding how all the resources of the watershed come together,” SARA General Manager Suzanne Scott said. “We’re very excited to add a very interesting component to education for San Pedro Creek, not only with an ecological component but with a historical component as well. It gives people a concrete understanding of the development of our county and how that came to pass.”
The 30 poles each bear an inscription of one decade of Bexar County’s 300-year history, and a historical or cultural description of the time period as well as the population count at the end of the decade.
The Plaza de Fundación also already has electrical wiring for lighting installed, which means Creek Lines can be seen at night, Scott added.
County Judge Nelson Wolff said he was pleased with the versatility of the art piece, especially with the rain-driven water feature.
“When they were here before, we told them that we wanted some functionality to it, [like] what they did at Confluence Park,” he said. “And it fits the space right. The art piece was built to take advantage of the lighting system we’ve got there, so you’ve got a different picture in the nighttime than in the day. I think it’s gonna be pretty cool.”
Allen projected that steel cutting could begin as early as this fall, and installation would follow late spring or early summer 2020. The project could be completed in August 2020.