Contractors have begun installing the first of three landmark public art pieces at Southwest University Park. The installations include a nod to baseball’s place in Americana, a vibrant chronicle of this history of the Paso del Norte Region, and an homage to El Paso’s rich baseball heritage including the 1949 state champion Bowie Bears.
“Each of these art installations uses a different medium to highlight the uniqueness of El Paso’s history or to activate the nostalgic affection many El Pasoans have for baseball,” said Patricia Dalbin, manager of the city’s public art program. “While each of these projects is unique and innovative, together they anchor this brand new ballpark which will be a part of El Paso’s future to our shared past.”
The pieces were commissioned through the City of El Paso’s public art program. The city’s public art ordinance, first adopted by City Council in 2006, dedicates two percent of the net proceeds of revenue bonds issued for construction projects – including the ballpark – to fund the program which seeks to improve community quality of life, enhance neighborhood aesthetics, and create opportunities for artists seeking to tell El Paso’s story.
“Not-Whole Fence,” created by Ball-Nogues Studio in Los Angeles, Calif., will be located along Santa Fe Street at the northeast corner of the ballpark. It is fabricated of aluminum, and gives the overall impression of knot-holes on a picket fence. The design harkens to old-time picket fence posts – often riddled with knot-holes – through which people could sneak a peek at a baseball game. While this fence picket is larger than life, it will give passers-by the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the on-field action from the sidewalk along Santa Fe Street.
On the southwest corner of the park, crews will install a 60-foot-tall artistic glass window entitled “The River Chronicle, a History of El Paso del Norte.” A river, representing the Rio Grande, moves from the bottom of the tower to the top, where it reaches the clock which is powered by inner-workings salvaged from the Insights Museum. Images surround the river, moving chronologically upward, from the first Native Americans to the present day. The close to 60 foot tall glass window will be visible from inside and outside of the ballpark.
Inside the ballpark, crews will install nine murals by noted El Paso artist Gaspar Enriquez. These large murals, reproduced on porcelain enamel panels, were each hand-painted and uniquely represent historical figures, teams, and memories of baseball in El Paso. Each mural is significant in that displays images specific to baseball, gathered by the artist with coordination with the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame.
When the facility is completed, the City of El Paso will own the 7,500-seat ballpark which will be the home of the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres baseball team.
For a complete list of bidders and those selected to work on components of the downtown ballpark project, please click here.
As with many major public works projects in El Paso, this project is being overseen by the city’s Engineering and Construction Management Department. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates on the Downtown Ballpark as well as other key projects citywide.
The following streets remain closed to pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists:
During construction, Sun Metro's Route 9 free downtown circulator will provide service to a temporary stop at Franklin Avenue and Coldwell Street.