The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, October 25, 2014


West Texas group on mission to save smokestacks
ASARCO copper smelter smokestacks near the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas. People spent years trying to close the massive copper plant they said spewed fumes that made their eyes teary, their lungs burn. Now, more than a decade after they claimed victory when the copper smelter shut down, some who opposed the plant are banding together in a long-shot effort to prevent the demolition of the plant's smokestacks that have dominated the local skyline for nearly half a century. AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca.

By: Juan Carlos Llorca, Associated Press

EL PASO, TX (AP).- People in this West Texas city spent decades trying to close a massive copper plant they said spewed fumes that made their eyes teary, their lungs burn. Workers got sick and blamed the company. A hill near a college campus gradually turned black as the towering smokestacks churned out heavy emissions year after year.

The people claimed victory when the ASARCO copper smelter finally shut down in 1999. Now, more than a decade later, some who opposed the plant are banding together in a long-shot effort to prevent the demolition of the plant's iconic smokestacks that have dominated the local skyline for nearly half a century. The chimneys, they say, are a mark of the city's industrial heritage and should be preserved as a monument to workers who fell ill due to toxic materials incinerated at the sprawling site.

"I want them to stay as a reminder that people in a democracy can stand up like David to Goliath and win," said Daniel Arellano, a former acid plant operator who suffers from myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease, after working at the plant from 1975-1999.

Arellano is among a group of former workers and residents who are supporting the cause of Save the Stacks, a group dedicated to raising money to purchase the site before the towers are demolished in early 2013. But the trustee in charge of cleaning and selling the 153-acre property said he has given the group enough time to raise the funds and has already made up his mind to tear down the last remaining pieces.

Still, the group believes there is a chance to save the hulking towers and turn them into the nation's tallest monument. Standing at more than 820 feet, the tallest chimney took 29 days of round the clock concrete pouring to build and rises higher than the Washington Monument or the St. Louis Arch.

"They want to wipe away our history," said Robert Ardovino, a member of Save the Stacks. "As a city we deserve something good to come from it and a giant slab of asphalt and a box store is not it."

The towers' red and white stripes and ASARCO sign can be seen from miles away amid the mountains near the Mexican border. They were a significant addition in 1966 to a copper smelter that opened in 1887 at the banks of the Rio Grande.

It operated for more than a century until it was shut down amid complaints of polluting the area while incinerating materials from a military facility that produced chemical weapons from World War II. ASARCO filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and four years later placed $52 million in a trust to clean up the area.

The towers were to be demolished last spring but the trustee granted a one-year moratorium so Save the Stacks could have time to raise money and show the structures were stable. They still have a long way to go to raise enough funds. They have collected less than $40,000 and estimate it would cost about $3.9 million to keep the smokestacks standing. The group also failed to get any financial backing from the city, which instead passed a resolution supporting the group's mission as long as it does not mean spending public money.

The trustee, Roberto Puga, said he now has no choice but to tear down the towers because potential buyers don't want them there. He said it would cost about $14 million to insure, update and maintain the stacks over 50 years and doubts the group will ever find the money.

"If there was a guardian angel that said, 'I'll write you a big check,' he would have done it by now," Puga said.

Still, Save the Stacks isn't ready to give up. The group has recruited public officials to help convince Puga to save the smokestacks.

"We will talk with him and continue to talk with him until he pushes the button," Ardovino said.

The towers are surrounded by the University of Texas at El Paso and an empty stretch of desert being developed with upscale apartments. The plant's construction more than a century ago ushered in an era of industry in El Paso that eventually expanded into businesses such as apparel factories and other types of assembly plants. The plant also helped grow many other businesses such as utility companies and railroads and brought good-paying jobs to the area.

"People came for a better way of life," said local historian Jackson Polk. "There was a good middle class, now kids from a smelter town could go to college. But it also brought dangers."

The memory of those dangers has some in this community divided on whether the towers should stay or go.

Alice Delgadillo, who works at a supermarket, wants Puga to push ahead with the demolition.

"If they don't serve a purpose, why have them?" she said.

Others, such as Juan Cameros, are more sentimental.

"It will be very sad for the people of El Paso if they bring them down. For the families of the men that worked there," he said while at a local Laundromat. "I had a teacher, her father worked for many years to provide for his family. It would be sad for everyone."

Mariana Chew, an activist working with the former ASARCO workers, wants the site turned into a museum and a center for environmental studies. She also wants to create a fund to address the health issues and medical expenses of the former workers.

But for most workers, pursuing more money in the courts is not worth their while since the company has filed for bankruptcy and is likely to offer a minimal payout.

They say that's why preserving the towers is so vital for them.

"That's the gun right there," Arellano said, looking up at the towers. "They want to throw away the smoking gun."


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.





Last Week News

January 5, 2013

Art Experiment opens at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow

TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund grants awarded to American and British Museums

Poster auction draws monster movie and pop culture fans to Swann Galleries

Five early 20th-century Spanish paintings acquired by Meadows Museum

The Henry Ford acquires major Studio Glass collection donated by Bruce and Ann Bachmann

Sotheby's London to present exhibition of British art curated by legendary 1960s gallerist Kasmin

Palm Beach Modern goes 'behind the velvet rope' Jan. 19 to auction Studio 54 archive of co-founder Steve Rubell

Vernacular albums, fine art images draw bidders to Swann Galleries' auction

Retrospective exhibition featuring the work of one of China's most dynamic artists Zhang Dali at Eli Klein Fine Art

Solo exhibition by San Francisco artist Amy Trachtenberg opens at Brian Gross Fine Art

The Origin of Nymphs by New York based artist Jeff Muhs opens at Lyons Wier Gallery

Best of the Northwest: Exhibition presents selected paintings from the Tacoma Art Museum's collection

Group show at Frank Lloyd Gallery unites seven ceramists from all over the world

Auschwitz-Birkenau sees record visitors in 2012

James Capper: Divisions opens at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The 1815 Half Eagle: New discoveries, new monograph on storied coin from Heritage Auctions

Arkansas Arts Center hires curator of contemporary craft and curator of drawings

The Miami International Art Fair brings art for the new year and next generation

Alan Bur Johnson and Alison Rossiter open exhibitions at Lisa Sette Gallery

Excavators head to Myanmar to find WWII Spitfires

January 4, 2013

Ancient papers discovered by chance in a cave two years ago shed light on Jewish life

Paintings hidden beneath Tudor portraits revealed through new National Portrait Gallery research

Ellsworth Kelly's series of colored paper images featured in exhibition at National Gallery of Art

Sotheby's New York Old Masters Week will be held from 29 January to 2 February 2013

Bozar Expo to present leading figures of European art: Neo Rauch, Antoine Watteau and Francis Bacon

Exhibition exploring 1,500 years of Buddhist art in Thailand opens at the Asian Civilisations Museum

From Victimage to Liberation: Works from the 1980s & 1990s by Nancy Spero opens at Galerie Lelong

Asheville Art Museum debuts two important exhibitions remembering the history of Nazi Germany

Bonhams to sell silver model of Bromley church made for renowned Kent gent

It's 'cash only' now for tourists at the Vatican; not yet complied with safeguards against money laundering

Exhibition of works spanning from 1970-2012 by Pinchas Cohen Gan on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Five free things to see and do in Lisbon: The port city on Europe's southwestern edge

Being Here: Recent work by several artists on view in group exhibition at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Peru moving to protect fossils from car race

2013 program kicks off with cosmic light and energy show on Times Square billboards

Stephen Pusey: A Way of Ending and Beginning to open at Guided By Invoices

Swedish artist Håkan Bengtsson exhibits at Galleri Lars Olsen in Copenhagen

Rare Stephen King book for auction in Maine

January 3, 2013

Recently found effigy pot could indicate individual buried in funerary complex in Oaxaca

The Veendorp Collection: Life's work of a caring collector on view at Groninger Museum

Prolific artist and designer Leonard Beaumont rediscovered at Sheffield's Graves Gallery

French comics artist Tardi rejects top state honour; Does not want to fall under any political influence

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to build works on paper gallery in historic landmark building

New Zealand earthquake city Christchurch puts faith in cardboard cathedral by Shigeru Ban

Florida celebrates its Spanish heritage with a series of events throughout 2013

Noted art dealer Patrick Orbe joins Morphy Auctions as fine art consultant to the company

Postal Museum launches 100 Years of Parcels, Packages, and Packets, Oh My!

The Hyde Collection receives $200,000 from Luce Foundation for O'Keeffe exhibition

Toomey Tourell Fine Art opens exhibition by Rhode Island based artist Allison Paschke

'Do-not-publish' Diana photo up for auction at RR Auctions of Amherst, New Hampshire

Royal Mail and BBC Worldwide to celebrate 50 years of science fiction series Doctor Who

Polk Museum of Art to feature two new major exhibitions

New art gallery makes its debut with an exciting selection of contemporary artists

Romer Young Gallery to present Amanda Curreri: The Aunque

Artists employ similar processes of repeated patterns to investigate infinite outcomes

January 2, 2013

Exhibition brings over 100 paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec to the National Gallery of Australia

Arte Povera: The great awakening of a new art movement in Italy on view at Kunstmuseum Basel

Photo Booth Art: The Aesthetics behind the Curtain, from the Surrealists to Rainer and Warhol at Kunst Haus Wien

Dried squash holds headless French king's blood: study in the journal Forensic Science International

Royal Academy of Arts presents Mariko Mori's first major exhibition in London since 1998

Tate Modern to present the UK's first major exhibition of Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi

Exhibition celebrates the postcard craze that revolutioned communication at turn of the 20th century

Philippines set to quit Marcos wealth chase, more than half the supposed $10 billion fortune still missing

Simon Evans & Öyvind Fahlström "First we make the rules, then we break the rules" at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf

Mexico City's government trying to transform one of the world's largest cities by beautifying public spaces

Exhibition at Kunsthalle in Vienna highlights artist Leigh Bowery's life and work

Artifacts recently unearthed appear to pinpoint the location of key Hatfield-McCoy battle

"The Life of Japanese Paintings": Exhibition on view at the Langen Foundation in Neuss

George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre undergoing major renovation

Plan for NYC Ferris wheel rolls on, despite Sandy

First New York solo exhibition with artist Marina Zurkow to open at bitforms gallery

World famous milliner offers an unrivaled look at hat design

French music hall treasures go on sale

January 1, 2013

Scottish National Gallery keeps with a century-old tradition of showing Turner watercolours

"Cristóbal Balenciaga: Collector of Fashions" opens at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

The Museum of Modern Art will present Claes Oldenburg: The Street and the Store

New presentation approach aims to make the Kröller-Müller Museum more accessible

Raucous Nigeria's (the most populous country in Africa) blossoming art scene tweaks the powerful

Edward Cella Art + Architecture's second solo exhibition of drawings by Cathy Daley opens

The best Swiss press photography of 2011 on view at the Musée national suisse

Rift between oldest synagogue, Jewish congregation over a set of Torah finial bells from Colonial times

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona announces its exhibition program for 2013

"Climate of Uncertainty" exhibition opens Jan. 10 at DePaul Art Museum in Chicago

Morten Straede's "Among the blacks & Tree of smoke/Aleppo" on view at Galleri Lars Olsen

Whitford Fine Art to offer extraordinary 'artist-designed' silk squares at the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show

Edward Boccia: Figurative Expressionist to open at The Saint Louis University Museum of Art

Celebrated NYC artist/designer/musician Ed Potokar unveils stunning creations in new exhibition

Recent drawings and sculptures by Julie Allen opens at McKenzie Fine Art

Solo exhibition of paintings by Santosh More at Jehangir Art Gallery & Kala Ghoda Festival

Mega Model Train Display at the Morris Museum

After a 3 month residency in the studio at the Gallery, WW presents solo show of new works by Jonathan Gabb

December 31, 2012

Mexican archeologists uncover 800-year-old skeletons of 12 children and adults

First major exhibition in the UK of more than 80 works created in Jingdezhen opens

Large-scale sculpture comprised of 2000 white polygonal shaped rods on view at LACMA

Getty Museum initiative to examine Los Angeles' modern architectural heritage from April through July 2013

Tate announces "Charming for the Revolution: A Congress for Gender Talents and Wildness"

"The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951" on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Metro Show forms alliance with Editions/Artist's Book Fair; Shows will be held from January 23-27

Masterworks showcased at Les Enluminures stand at The 2013 Winter Antiques Show

First solo show at Galerie Gabriel Rolt by Israeli/American artist Abner Preis opens

Images 36: Association of Illustrators announces best of British illustration on tour 2012-2013

Exhibition of work by contemporary silversmiths on view at the Design Museum in Ghent

Iraqi citizens get glimpse of golden era in new exhibition at the Iraqi National Assembly

Liberal arts colleges forced to evolve with market shedding their liberal arts identity

Seminal fiber artist Ted Hallman creates one-of-a-kind installation at the Michener Art Museum

Gory artist bleeds painting at Meller Merceux Gallery

The Global Film Initiative announces Global Lens 2013 lineup

Camilo Ontiveros: In the ring on view at the Museum of Latin American Art

TABOO: A multi-faceted program opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site