In a heartfelt effort to honor the memory of the 53 migrants who tragically lost their lives on San Antonio’s south side on June 27, 2022, Bexar County Commissioner, Rebeca Clay-Flores, has commissioned local arts nonprofit, Luminaria, to create a poignant mural at Mission County Park. This artistic endeavor seeks to pay tribute to the lives lost and raise awareness about the challenges migrants face.

The Luminaria Mural Team—led by Fine Art Curator, Adrian De La Cruz, alongside accomplished artists Andrea Rivas and Mauro de la Tierra—has been entrusted with capturing the essence of the migrants’ stories through their artistic vision. The mural features images of migrants crossing the Rio Bravo in hopes for a better future. Imagery also includes the river, monarch butterflies, and 53 stars representing the Mexican, Honduran, and Guatemalan migrants who perished in the country’s largest human smuggling incident. The mural aims to serve as a symbol of remembrance and a call to action, encouraging the community to reflect on the human cost of migration and the need for compassion and understanding.

Commissioner Clay-Flores believes public art can evoke emotions, promote empathy, and inspire positive change within communities. By commemorating the lives lost with a mural that encapsulates the migrants’ journeys and aspirations, she hopes to foster a sense of unity and compassion among residents.

“The tragic incident on June 27, 2022, serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by migrants seeking a better life. Through the creation of this mural, we aim to honor their memory and shed light on the human stories behind the statistics,” stated Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores. “Art has the incredible ability to bring people together, fostering understanding and empathy. It is my hope that this mural will serve as a lasting tribute and a catalyst for positive change within our community.”

“It is our honor to have been commissioned to create this mural at the request of Commissioner Clay-Flores,” said Yadhira Lozano, executive director. “As a proud Southsider, it is a deeply personal subject matter for many of us in our community including the artists who designed the mural reflecting dignity and respect for the migrants. I am humbled to have been entrusted with this task to honor their lives through art.”

The mural, once completed, will be on permanent display at Mission County Park with a plaque listing the names of the migrants who perished on June 27, 2022. The park is open year-round allowing residents and visitors to reflect on the migrant experience and the importance of fostering a welcoming and supportive community.

Photo: Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores and the Luminaria Team stand in front of the mural “Sacrificios” at Mission County Park honoring the 53 migrants who perished in the deadliest human smuggling incident in the US on June 27, 2022. Left to right: Mauro de la Tierra, artist; Yadhira Lozano, Luminaria Executive Director; Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores; Adrian De La Cruz, lead artist; Andrea V. Rivas, artist. Photo by Marialelena Villarreal. Click here to download the image.

Luminaria is a dynamic nonprofit arts organization dedicated to producing and promoting the arts to the city of San Antonio. Luminaria is an inclusive organization celebrating the visual and multimedia arts in San Antonio through public engagement and active support for artists. Founded in 2008 by local arts advocates to create a communal celebration for the city’s arts organizations and artists. Since adopting a new strategic plan in 2021, Luminaria is dedicated to the innovative interpretation of San Antonio’s culture, history, and environment through creative placemaking and site-specific arts integration. We coordinate with anchor arts institutions, cultural and heritage organizations, and other community partners to foster a vibrant and internationally resonant arts culture in the city.