Adriana Garcia began her professional art career in graphic design, but her heart was in painting. She found an opportunity with San Anto Cultural Arts Center in the city’s Westside. In the mid 1990s Manny Castillo, the San Anto Executive Director, began recruiting artists to join him in painting murals in the Westside. Alex Rubio and Adriana Garcia were among his most notable art team members. Of her artworks Adriana explained, “I create as a way to document the lives I’ve shared in, my art provides a way to honor a person’s existence and make visible the marks they have imprinted upon me and the environment–a legacy left as well as a legacy for those still to come. Intimacy abounds in lives encountered. I aim to extract the inherent liminality of a moment before action as a way to articulate our stories.”
Over the last few years Garcia has devoted her time to both painting and illustrating children’s books. Her debut picture book, All Around Us, written by Xelena González, (Cinco Puntos Press), won the prestigious 2018 Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration and the 2018 Tomás Rivera Book Award in the children’s picture book category. Garcia spoke enthusiastically about her work on the Gilbert E. Ramirez Community Center mural with Manola and Maria Ramirez.
Manola and Maria Ramirez are two years apart in age. In the development of their creative art skills, however, they are far closer. Maria, who began her art training in the city’s Say Si youth art program, saw art as a possible career. Manola had initially wanted to study literature, become a writer, and work in the film industry.
Manola’s art teachers commented on her creative talent and encouraged her to seek an art degree. After two years at San Antonio College, the Ramirez sisters both transferred to The University of Texas at Austin and were admitted to the UT Art Department. The sisters excelled in their art classes and graduated with Bachelors of Art degrees in 2018.
The Ramirez sisters returned to San Antonio and today operate an all female collaborative space known as Lavaca Studios in Southtown. There they create, teach, and provide artistic resources to the community.
Glasstire Art noted that the Ramirez sisters were selected for the Southwest mural “for their graphic aesthetics, use of color and font, and whimsical style.”