If you’ve driven by (or maybe walked by, but God it’s hot!) The Heritage Society building lately, you may have noticed a group of artists hard at work painting a large-scale mural on the side of the building.
Houston artists Jesse Sifuentes and Laura Lopez Cano were commissioned by The Heritage Society, in celebration of the many contributions made by Mexican-Americans in the City of Houston, to create Mexican-American History & Culture in 20th Century Houston, a visual depiction of 100 years of milestones. The mural is scheduled to be be completed by the end of July.
“This is a very important addition to The Heritage Society’s historical collection in downtown Houston,” said Mike Vance, program director at The Heritage Society. “Until now, we did not have any tangible asset in our collection that reflected the enormous influence of Mexican-American culture. Together with the co-chairs of our fundraising campaign, Orlando Sanchez and Christina Morales, we set out to change that.”
“These are stories we don’t hear about often, so it is important for us to bring them to the forefront,” said Orlando Sanchez, fundraising co-chair of the Mexican-American mural project and Harris County Treasurer. “Hopefully we will begin to educate our children about the true heritage and true contributions of many people in the state of Texas, including that of Mexican-Americans.”
Mural themes include Mexican immigration as people fled the Revolution at home, the jobs that the new immigrants took on the railroads and in Ship Channel industries, life in El Segundo Barrio, community institutions and the all-encompassing importance of extended family in the life of Mexican-Americans. Key Hispanic figures – including the legendary Mama Ninfa – are included as well. Set against a backdrop of City Hall and the downtown skyline, this mural will be a cultural landmark and prime photo opportunity in the very heart of Houston. #Instagram?
“The commitment of our Houston community to this project has been overwhelming,” said Christina Morales, co-chair of the Mexican-American mural project and president of The Morales Memorial Foundation. “I very much appreciate the efforts of The Heritage Society to make this happen, and am excited to share the final work of art with visitors and residents of Houston for generations to come.”
The mural will serve an additional purpose by inviting visitors to discover The Heritage Society Museum behind the wall. (Also, good to know this time of year – they have OUTSTANDING air conditioning). It also becomes an opportunity for The Heritage Society to introduce a powerful Hispanic presence to Houston’s first municipal park.
The estimated project cost is $95,000 and includes artist fees, materials, structural elements, lighting, canopy, and miscellaneous other project related items. Contributors to the project to date include the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, H-E-B, Walmart, Comcast, El Tiempo, the Zenteno Family, George and Kathleen Martinez, Mike Boylan, Orlando Sanchez and Christina Morales.
Donations toward this project are still begin accepted. Visit www.heritagesociety.org/sponsors/ and scroll to the Mexican History Mural Project.