Womens’ murals open for community

After a 20,000 AARP Community Challenge 2019 grant to the City of Brownsville, the 14th Street Plaza, pictured Thursday, now boasts murals, seating areas and green spaces throughout the plaza.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

BROWNSVILLE — The public is now able to enjoy colorful murals at the 14th Street Plaza in the downtown area as part of the efforts to transform the area.

The project was funded through a $20,000 AARP Community Challenge 2019 grant the city received last summer.

“Our downtown is a real gem and separates us from other cities in the state,” Mayor Trey Mendez said in a previous interview. “I believe that we should invest in what makes our city unique, and heritage tourism is both a short- and long-term win due to its very quantifiable economic impact.

“Studies show that monies that are invested for redevelopment or adaptive reuse of historic districts have a larger return. From a cultural perspective, it is important to know and be able to appreciate our history.”

Monica Lugo, Samantha Rawls and Alexandria Canchola are the artists who collaboratively painted the colorful murals that represent sisterhood and female empowerment.

“The murals at 14th Street Plaza, across from the bridge, are about sisterhood,” Canchola said in a video for the City of Brownsville. “It was a really great process to create these colorful murals that really highlight the feeling that we get about sisterhood and the empowerment that women feel. …

“Public art is important, it is great to be able to share your work with the community and it’s great for the community to be exposed to work that is outside of a gallery and see different perspective, maybe even learn something and I am excited that we were able to do that here in Brownsville.”

Lugo said she could not believe the final result looked like the sketch. She said she was nervous at first but is very happy with the art.

“Just seeing how vibrant it is; it’s such a nice feeling to see that something that you plan so carefully look just this good on the wall,” Lugo said. “The fact that it looks like one person did it, I think that’s my favorite part because we are three different people and our processes are very different. To have it look cohesive in every single arch that’s just mind blowing.”

Rawls said the three of them had good chemistry and that when there’s good chemistry it is always an amazing final product.

“If you are working with the right people you are able to come up with beautiful work and the end results are always amazing,” she said.