Public Art at Hemisfair

In this section I will be discussing both the art installed for the ’68 World’s Fair and for the HPARC redevelopment of the site today.

Art commissioned and on display during the 1968 World’s Fair – HemisFair ’68

One of the many things to enjoy at the fair was the large variety of art scattered throughout the 92 acre site. There were well over 100 art pieces located on the fair grounds for visitors to enjoy, visitors could buy a 36 page book titled “sculpture, murals, and fountains at Hemisfair ’68” which give a brief description of 116 of the pieces on the fair site.

Over the decades since the Fair the majority of the art has been transferred into private collections and unfortunately some were destroyed after the Fair closed in October of ’68 by the demolition crews who were not aware of its artistic meaning.

Art from the Fair still on the site today

“The Confluence of Civilizations” mural by Juan O’Gorman, located above the two-story glass front facade of the performing arts theater.

“The Confluence of Civilizations” mural by Carlos Merida, located in the two-story stair lobby in the convention center facing the river lagoon.

“St. Anthony” a 7’ bronze statue by Leopoldo De Almeida, located on the riverwalk near the Marriott Riverwalk hotel. This was part of the Pavilion of Portugal at HemisFair ’68 on display outside their main entrance. After the fair the statue was a gift from Portugal to the city of San Antonio.

“Migration” a fountain by Trinity University professor Bill Bristow, during the fair the fountain included water & bird sculptures, located in the U.S. Pavilion complex. At one point the birds were removed and the fountain was drained and now is a lush flower bed.


Below are images from my collection showing some of the art at HemisFair ’68. (Click on images for a closer look)

Art commissioned and on display as part of the redevelopment of the site

One of the great ideas I remember hearing about during the early planning public workshops was about having public art on the site for both residents and visitors to enjoy.

In 2012 the city of San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs along with Public Art San Antonio (PASA) commissioned Boston based landscape architect & master planner – Mikyoung Kim to create an Art Master plan to be part of the overall redevelopment of Hemisfair. In December of 2012 a public presentation was held at Beethoven Hall at Hemisfair to share Mrs. Kim’s preliminary research and ideas for the master plan. One comment she made which I had not thought much about till then was about the HBG Convention Center located in Hemisfair. From the observation level of the Tower of the Americas looking down, the center’s roof is just a massive blank white canvas and can be utilized to display large scale art which can only be seen from the Tower.

As of 2015 the plan was completed and adopted by the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation as part of the overall redevelopment.

Based on the Art Master plan created by Mikyoung Kim Design, several pieces of artwork were commissioned by HPARC to be incorporated into the redeveloped site. Below is a list of artist w/ their respective work for Hemisfair.


Below are images of the new artwork being installed at Hemisfair. (Click on images for a closer look)

New Installations at Hemisfair

The following are basic descriptions of the new art being installed at Hemisfair, I have organized the installations based on the three phases of the overall redevelopment of the site.

Art for Yuanaguana Garden (2015)

The following are basic descriptions of XX key pieces of artwork being installed in this phase of the redevelopment. The following content are excerpts from a HPARC presentation on the installation and is used here with their permission.

“Campsite” by Joey Fauerso – This installation is comprised of four powder-coated steel ‘pup-tent’ forms in a range of graduated blue hues, arranged to reverence a camp circle. At night the tents will be illuminated from within by low voltage LED lights.

Building on the project theme ‘PLAY’, CAMPSITE will create an interactive and imaginative place for children to gather, discover and make-believe. CAMPSITE would point to the presence of natural habitats and experiences in an urban landscape

“House” by Karen Mahaffy – This installation is comprised of a small scale house made of perforated, powder-coated steel on a concrete slab. Text etched in walkway, custom light fixture.

The overall effect of these combined elements will be to create playful and delicate shadows and a space of pretend and wonderment while addressing a period in the history of the site and surrounding neighborhood.

“Kite Table” by Stuart Allen – This installation is comprised of a single galvanized steel table with Kite making instructions etched on the surface. Custom light fixture and 1500 kite making kits for workshops to be conducted on site in collaboration with HPARC.

The kite-making instructions on the table’s surface are explicit, but the primary intent is to inspire individuals and families to engage in a fulfilling outdoor activity. In a sense the table is a conceptual object, suggesting the potential of open public space coupled with imagination.

“Sound Scout” by Justin Boyd – This installation is comprised of three mounted speakers along the Acequia playing manipulated audio recordings on the park. Speaker infrastructure will allow for an annual series of sound installations curated by Justin Boyd.

As the visitor’s attention is drawn to listening, they begin to hear all of the other sounds coming from around them. This awareness leads to curiosity and imagination about why this sound is different here than over there, which draws the listener down the line of trees to investigate more of the park.

“Play Theater” by Jennifer Khoshbin – This installation comprises of a small scale theater proscenium comprised of three stage set backdrops of powder coated steel, anchored to a concrete slab.

The idea of play in public, both as a theme and as an activity, flourishes in incomplete spaces that invite improvisation and story making. As well as being an important piece of artwork, the location of the installation adjacent to the Children’s Magik Theater on the western edge of Hemisfair allows its use as a tool for future theatrical workshops.

“Rotating Mural” by Alex Rubio – This installation comprises of a painted mural on four panels, the overall dimensions are 9’ high by 42’ wide.

The artwork is to be created by students enrolled in the city of San Antonio’s Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum MOSAIC intuitive, an educational and community outreach program providing mentoring in the arts. The art will be installed for a 2 – 3 year period then possibly removed for a new art project.

Art for Civic Park (2023)

To be updated as this phase progresses at Hemisfair 🙂

Art for Tower Park (2023)

To be updated as this phase progresses at Hemisfair 🙂