Local painter and previous La Prensa feature artist Mauro de la Tierra was recently awarded by the city of McAllen, Texas for his contributions to the Keep McAllen Beautiful project, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Using an array of spray paints and acrylics, Mauro completed the piece, titled “Amor Divino”, in May of this year on one of over 200 irrigation pipes located within the city.

This piece, which can be seen on E Jay Ave & N 2nd St, is a loving dedication to Mauro’s mother and his own cultural background.

“This painting is a tribute to my Mother’s journey to the United States to give us a better life. Her tears flowing into the Rio Grande. Monarchs immigrate during their lives and represent the way this journey is a natural process to all beings sharing the same planet.”

Coming from a street art background, Mauro often faced challenges with having his art be appreciated and taken seriously on more legitimate platforms. This recognition and opportunity with Keep McAllen Beautiful signifies an important achievement in his burgeoning art career.

“Because of where I grew up and the type of art I did, I was often pushed to the side, especially because there’s a big stigma around spray paint. It’s important to show people [this piece] because it tells everyone to trust the process and believe in yourself. It’s completely possible to make it as an artist, it doesn’t matter where you come from. I feel a high level of pride and accomplishment. I feel seen and I feel grateful.”

Founded on principles of “waste reduction practices, litter prevention and the preservation and enhancement of McAllen’s natural beauty”, Keep McAllen Beautiful (KMB) was formed in January 1976 to serve as a Beautification Advisory Board through the McAllen City Commission. In 1991, after 15 years of grassroots community and volunteer-driven work, KMB was distinguished as a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation. Now, KMB, as a 2022 Gold Star Affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful, operates in a number of different beautification and residential empowerment projects, such as the Irrigation Pipe Project that Mauro was selected to be a part of. Mauro, through previous endeavors and ties to the RGV art scene, says he has a special relationship with the city of McAllen.

“I love McAllen. The first time I went there, it felt like a home away from home. I love the culture out there and what [everyone] is doing. It’s a really beautiful community and I’m grateful that I was able to visit again. I’d like to give thanks to Chris Lash for having me on the project, my partner Raven Medina for getting me out there, and my mom Ale Tierra.”

Read more about Mauro’s piece, “Amor Divino”, Keep McAllen Beautiful, and the Irrigation Pipe Project (including an interactive map and 360° views of the art) at

Follow Mauro de la Tierra on
Instagram @maurodelatierra