Plethora, the Tricentennial Artwork piece by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.
Plethora, the Tricentennial Artwork piece by Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. Credit: Courtesy / Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada

At the Mays Family Center in the Witte Museum Friday morning, Judge Nelson Wolff announced that Bexar County has selected artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada’s proposal for a public art piece at the main San Pedro Creek (SPC) plaza in time for the Tricentennial celebrations in 2018.

The selection is the result of a year-long search that received proposals from local, national, and international artists. The sculpture is a part of the arts component of the San Pedro Creek Improvements project.

Rodríguez-Gerada, originally from Cuba, grew up in New York and eventually moved to Barcelona in 2002. His work has been commissioned and exhibited throughout much of Europe and the United States. The design is a partnership between the artist, Arup Engineering Group, and RiverCity Industries. The total cost for the project is $735,000.

The sculpture itself, entitled “Plethora,” will be constructed from aluminum and aluminum cladding. It is designed to be 60 feet high and 40 feet wide, facing south, serving as an entry point to the park.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff speaks about the cultural significance of the San Pedro Creek art.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff speaks about the cultural significance of the San Pedro Creek art. Credit: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / San Antonio Report

In his proposal, Rodríguez-Gerada states that the sculpture is an allegorical representation of an archetypal goddess, evoking an image of “a maternal, providing protector who is however venerated and powerful.”

“Jorge has agreed to move here as we proceed on the construction at San Pedro Creek and he begins to work on his sculpture,”Wolff said. “He will live and stay in San Antonio during that time frame.”

The design stood out from all of the others, Wolff explained, partly because it did not symbolize flowing water, which many of the other projects did.

“While other projects exemplify water, which is important to the creek, this (art piece) exemplifies the culture,” he said. “That’s what this project is going to be about. The history, the artwork of the civilizations that came here, and the human connection to the creek. And that’s exactly what Jorge has done. The use of light, space, and shadow represent the human connection to the creek.”

Artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada Skypes in from Barcelona Spain.
Artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada Skypes in from Barcelona Spain. Credit: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / San Antonio Report

Rodríguez-Gerada, who made an appearance at the press conference via video from Barcelona, said that the nature and shape of the sculpture will complement the surrounding environment, making use of the latest technology to create the piece.

“This is a great honor. I’m grateful that my sculpture was chosen,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to starting and working with an amazing team. We’ll be using the most cutting edge machines for the metal that I’ve ever seen in my life.”

When asked by the Rivard Report about the significance of San Antonio being able to attract attention from artists around the world, Wolff credited last year’s World Heritage designation of the San Antonio Missions as a major contributing factor.

“That gave us recognition all over the world, and may very well have played a role in the number of artists that responded to this request,” he said. “I believe this piece of public art will be the defining artwork for downtown or anywhere in this city. Hopefully it will lead to other works of public art for the city.”

To learn more about Rodríguez-Gerada and his artwork, click here.

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.