Interview by Clint Westwood
Article by Celinda De La Fuente

Murals have always been an expression of our gente. Whether it be a political statement or a celebration of cultura, you will find a beautiful representation created by artistas. The Leyenda Azteca Mural has been in our comunidad on the beautiful Westside at 1305 S.Brazos 78207 since 1998 created by Israel Rico with Krystal Gonzalez and Udanna Gonzalez (1979-2009). The artwork depicts five Aztec legends including The Fifth Sun Legend which is an Aztec creation myth.

Manuel Castillo began the mural program, San Anto Cultural Arts, in 1993 through Inner City Development. It later became a non-profit organization in 1995. Since then, they have overseen the production and restoration of many of our beautiful murals throughout the city. Crystal Torres, Mural Preservation Manager of San Anto Cultural Arts, will oversee the whole restoration project of Leyenda Azteca and others like it. Original Artist Israel Rico was asked to assist with the restoration. Marisol De La Cruz and April Dawn Ceja are also part of the project.

Rico examines the importance of this important work in our ciudad, “It’s learning the history of our culture. It also brings our community together. It brings a sense of community. It teaches stories. It teaches other histories as well: Barrio histories, neighborhood histories.” Drivers in the area honked their horns with encouragement as they passed by. Some even offered the diligent muralists and artists water.

Public art showcases the “diamonds in the rough” of our comunidad and their amazing talents, which may not be highlighted elsewhere.

“Public art needs to be protected, because it’s our history. It’s our culture….When they showed this mural during the NBA finals, they said ‘San Antonio, a city of beauty and culture, and they were panning my mural. A city of beauty and culture, you can’t get better than that,’ ” states Rico who moved to Ciudad in 1977.

Murals have quickly become a part of historia, y nuestra historia matters.

For more information about mural programs, visit