PLAY: Public Art in Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair Park


Exciting news for Hemisfair and downtown San Antonio: families can now visit Yanaguana Garden, an active play area with climbing structures, giant game boards, a splash pad, and more. As described in this this post at Alamo City Moms Blog, October 2-4, 2015 is grand opening weekend at Yanaguana Garden.

The free activities on Sunday, October 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature the new works of public art at Yanaguana Garden, collectively called PLAY, created under the leadership of artist Stuart Allen and supported by Public Art San Antonio and the City of San Antonio’s Department for Culture and Creative Development. Six artists contributed to PLAY: Stuart Allen, Joey Fauerso, Jennifer Khoshbin, Karen Mahaffy, Alex Rubio, and Justin Boyd.

Stuart Allen: Near South Alamo Street, Kite Table consists of a table, two benches, and a light fixture, all made of metal that has been cut and folded into kite-like shapes. The top of the table is etched with diagrams and instructions for building kites.


Joey Fauerso: Nestled by the play structures, Sky Camp is a series of little tents formed of folded metal and painted in shades of sky blue. At night, they are lit from beneath.


Jennifer Khoshbin: Near the Magik Theatre, Sideshow is a series of metal cutouts that form the curtains and set of an outdoor stage. It’s an invitation to put on a show.


Karen Mahaffy: Near East César E. Chávez Boulevard, PLAYhouse echoes the saltbox architecture and floral wallpaper patterns that characterized the historic neighborhood that was cleared for HemisFair ’68. A poem is inscribed on the walkway; it can be read forwards (“a house/remains/in our memory/a place/we love/as much as/the people/we knew/who lived there”) or backwards (“who lived there/we knew/the people/as much as/we love/a place/in our memory/remains/a house”) depending on how you walk the path. PLAYhouse was wrapped in plastic during my visit; the cutouts should be fully visible now.


Alex Rubio‘s vivid mural Yanaguana was installed on the exterior walls of the bathroom structure shortly after my visit last week. Rubio’s students in the MOSAIC program at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum painted the mural under his direction.

Justin Boyd‘s Why Do Birds Sound Like Car Alarms Now? is the first installation of Sound Scout, a series of collected and abstracted sounds that will play from a set of speakers installed in the trees along the acequia. That area of Yanaguana Garden was off-limits due to construction during my tour last week, but I am looking forward to visiting again.

On Sunday, October 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., all six artists will visit Yanaguana Garden to lead family-friendly workshops:

  • Stuart Allen will help families assemble kite-making kits
  • At the tents, Joey Fauerso will bring constellations and star charts
  • Jennifer Khoshbin will lead live music and improvisation at the theater
  • Karen Mahaffy will be at the playhouse with shadow-tracing activities
  • Alex Rubio will invite families to try mural painting
  • At the acequia, Justin Boyd will lead active listening sessions

In addition to the arts activities, there will also be food and fitness demonstrations in Yanaguana Garden on Sunday.

Donations to the Hemisfair Park Conservancy help support the redevelopment of the Hemisfair park district, including Yanaguana Garden and future phases like the Civic Park, near Alamo Plaza and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the Tower Park, near the Tower of the Americas. I hope that Hemisfair continues to evolve as a place where locals and families can gather and enjoy our city.

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