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Murals: Gateway to San Antonio’s Westside

(Murals have always been a big part of a culture, representing heritage and tradition. Our correspondent Ramon Hernandez covers the new murals on the West Side and also includes several photographs.)

East Los Angeles has an arch as one enters the “Brown Kingdom” via Whittier Boulevard. Here the barrio is spelled “varrio” and arch is

a symbol of pride for the unincorporated area of East LA, which welcomes its residents as well as visitors.

Now the Gateway to San Antonio’s Westside via West Commerce Street too has its own impressive entrance. And it’s all due thanks to the late Manuel “Manny” Diosdado Castillo Jr., David Blancas, several businesses, corporations, organization and countless other participants.

The eye-catching new landmark -- made possible by the San Anto Cultural Arts Community Mural/Public Art Program and Janis Wagley -- is a mural titled “La Música de San Anto.”

It all started when Wagley, who owns Fast Action Bail Bonds, thought it would be nice to have a colorful mural of bluebonnets, the Alamo plus more artwork that depicted Texas; and in talking to several artists, Manny convinced her to feature a wall full of San Antonio musicians.

This writer/musicologist’s only critic is that they neglected to include Gloria Ríos, who as Eva Garza, also lived in the Alazan-Apache Courts and moved to Mexico, where Ríos introduced rock and roll to our South of the Border neighbor in 1955. She also became a famous movie star and married Adalberto “Resortes” Martínez Chávez.

There is a mural on the side of a building at the corner of Colorado and Buena Vista streets that features a female vocalist resembling Gloria Rios and it may be her. However, she is not identified. And before anyone else starts complaining about being left out, it must be noted that every artist featured on this impressive and moving mural has passed on and this is a posthumous honor.

Among those in attendance at the mural’s dedication were Randy Garibay’s brothers Isidro “Izzy” and Ernie; also his son Randy G. Jr. plus Randy’s first wife Cecilia Cortez and his widow Virginia Schramm Garibay. Lydia Mendoza’s daughter Yolanda, her husband Fernando Hernández and their two children, Anna and Rogelio were also present; as well as Jessamy, their granddaughter plus Manny’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Castillo Sr.

Photographer Jesse Lara and Efrain Gutiérrez, considered to be the first Chicano film maker was on hand to document the event in high definition.

Congratulations and big “thank you” to all sponsors plus all the volunteers who made this historical mural a reality; and may there be more “Música de San Anto” murals to follow.

In closing, here’s some food for thought in the way of a new project. What about a mural featuring the Royal Jesters, Rudy Tee and the Reno Bops and Dimas Garza of the Lyrics, whom all went



 

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