The portrait depicts the Family owners of Mi Tierra. With a heavy heart, La Prensa Texas remebers the late Doña Cruz Cortez.
When President Bill Clinton came to San Antonio during his 1992 campaign and first term, he toured the city with Henry Cisneros, his Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. Cisneros always made it a point to take him to eat at Mi Tierra, one of the city’s most popular Mexican restaurants. Today there is a painting of Clinton at Mi Tierra wearing a Viva Zapata t shirt designed by San Antonio artist Armando Sanchez and sold at the restaurant.
On a large mural facing the Clinton painting is a portrait of former mayor and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Cisneros is joined on the “American Dream” mural by more than 100 other prominent San Antonio movers and shakers.
The “American Dream” mural was started by Mexican artist Jesus “El Indio” Diaz Garza nearly 30 years ago. After Diaz Garza died, his work was taken over by Roberto Ytuarte.
For more than ten years Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant has kept San Antonio native Ytuarte busy with art projects, most notably the mural. Every other week, it seems, a new person is added to the mural. Sig Christenson of the San Antonio Express News noted that military heroes were among the prominent people of San Antonio portrayed in the mural.
One figure, Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez, a Medal of Honor recipient, joins former Texas U.S. Congressman Frank Tejeda, a Vietnam veteran.
Writing for the Rivard Report, Camille Garcia of Austin noted that “over the years, the painting evolved to include the likenesses of the Cortez’s matriarch and patriarch, Cruz and Pedro Cortez, their children, and some of the family’s third generation as well.”
Armando Sanchez, who also has a large painting of Selena facing the massive mural, first met Ytuarte in the 1990s. At that time Ytuarte painted portraits on Market Square. Jorge Cortez, Mi Tierra’s CEO at the time, invited Roberto to add additional San Antonio legends to the Mi Tierra mural.
Mi Tierra is one of the busiest Mexican restaurants in San Antonio, if not the entire state of Texas. If you go there for lunch or dinner, try the off hours. My wife and I have been there when tour buses arrived with tourists by the hundreds. It amazes me to see Roberto painting during the day when customers surround his scaffolding.
Of the prominent people added to the mural in recent years is the late Tino Duran, founder and former CEO of La Prensa San Antonio. In years to come there will be more Latinos added to the wall of honor.
In the meantime, enjoy the enchiladas, take home some colorful pan dulce, and visit a wall that is full of San Antonio history and culture.