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City of San Antonio celebrates new nature-inspired public art installation at Elmendorf Lake Park
The artist team of RDG Dahlquist Art Studio collaborated with inaugural San Antonio Poet Laureate and former Texas State Poet Laureate, Carmen Tafolla, Ph.D., to incorporate text from her poems into the rippling water pattern. Photo: Michael Cirlos, III.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The City of San Antonio is celebrating the completion of “Aguas Onduladas” (Rippling Waters), a public art installation at Elmendorf Lake Park inspired by the natural beauty of the nearby lake. The artwork, comprised of three cut stainless steel waves, honors the natural elements with a pattern cut into the metal that resembles rippling water. The finish of the stainless steel provides a reflection of the viewer and light as if he or she was looking into water. The largest wave, located on the north end of the triangle, stands 12 feet at its tallest point. The smallest wave on the south end stands three feet at the shortest point.

The artist team of RDG Dahlquist Art Studio collaborated with inaugural San Antonio Poet Laureate and former Texas State Poet Laureate, Carmen Tafolla, Ph.D., to incorporate text from her poems into the rippling water pattern. Excerpts of Tafolla’s poems, “Cada Sueño” and “River Music,” can be read by pedestrians as they walk through the sculptures to or from the park. The artwork is lit from within allowing safe passage across the triangle on foot and an illuminated landmark for drivers at night. The amber light also references pierced metal lanterns and the warm glow of front porch lights found throughout San Antonio’s Westside neighborhoods.

“The richness of this public artwork is how it truly does what public art is intended to do – it represents the people and identity of the space it is in. Incorporating elements that honor the natural surroundings and the cultural richness of the community makes this art installation one that all San Antonio residents and visitors should experience because it tells a unique story,” said District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales. “The inclusion of excerpts from Carmen Tafolla’s poetry adds to the beauty and significance of this artwork.”

The Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art San Antonio (PASA) division commissioned the artwork as part of a larger renovation project of the park by the San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department. RDG Dahlquist Art Studio, based in Des Moines, Iowa, specializes in the integration of artwork within building architecture and landscape. Led by nationally-recognized public artist and teacher David B. Dahlquist, the studio has completed more than 70 major public art installations across the country.

“This public art installation is a marker celebrating nature and culture informed by the context of Elmendorf Lake Park and the surrounding Westside neighborhood of San Antonio,” Dahlquist said.

PASA facilitates a public process for commissioning art of the highest standards which enriches the quality of life and visual environment for all residents and visitors of San Antonio. PASA manages public art projects associated with the City’s capital improvements programs and connects to the community through exhibits, presentations, outreach and planning initiatives. PASA works directly with all City departments and supports local public art efforts of artists, community groups, partner organizations and outside agencies.

The project is a collaboration between the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the San Antonio River Authority. The three cut aluminum forms were fabricated and installed by Garces Waterjet with assistance from Kuest Corp. Metal Fabricators. Both are located in San Antonio.

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