On November 1, 2015, the Caller-Times announced a “call for entries” where artists were asked to submit proposals for a mural that would cover a 64’ wide by 36’ tall wall of the Caller-Times building. Several submissions were received including one from artist Sandra Gonzalez. Gonzalez eventually became the artist selected to create the mural “Endless Sunset: The Colors of Our City”.
“Part of what attracted us to the design was the fact that the community could get involved,” Caller-Times President Libby Averyt said. “I hope this will be the first of many public art opportunities we see in Corpus Christi.”
The response was undeniable. Local museums K Space Contemporary and the Art Center of Corpus Christi volunteered their space as a place where Corpus Christi residents took part in the lasting impact of the mural.
“The outpouring of support we saw from the art community was impressive, but I will say I wasn’t all that surprised because I know that we have a generous, giving arts community,” Averyt said.
The mural, designed as a way to promote interest in the arts and the revitalization of downtown, was in part made possible by a $10,000 grant awarded by the Downtown Management District in September 2015.
Once the painting was complete, Gonzalez adhered the 65 5-foot panels to the Caller-Times building on the wall facing Taylor Street. The entire process took approximately 34 days.
The mural, titled “Endless Sunset: The Colors of Our City,” was completed in summer 2016. It was partially funded by a grant from the Downtown Management District to promote interest in the arts and downtown revitalization.
Award-winning artist Sandra Gonzalez wanted to create a lasting tribute to Corpus Christi. The Caller-Times had just the right blank canvas for the task.
The South Texas-based artist was announced on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 as the winner of the Caller-Times’ mural contest, a project that had been in the works since September 2015.
“We’ve got a great canvas,” Caller-Times President Libby Averyt said. “We’re investing not only in the community but in the building and our presence downtown.”
That investment can be seen in Gonzalez’s design. “Endless Sunset: The Colors of Our City” uses vibrant colors, coastal icons and cultural elements to capture the spirit of Corpus Christi.
“I was inspired by the beautiful sunsets of the South Texas Gulf Coast,” Gonzalez said. “(The design) shows the joy of nature and the surroundings of our Corpus Christi.”
Born and raised in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the artist is familiar with Corpus Christi culture. Having lived in Corpus Christi from 2008-11, Gonzalez soaked up local culture while she studied at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she received a Master of Arts in 2011.
Gonzalez continued her education, going on to receive a Master of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2013, and has worked on almost 30 murals throughout the country. She’s currently an art teacher at Alexander High School in Laredo.
“I wanted to bring that knowledge to Texas,” the 29-year-old artist said.
Using a paint-by-number style on polytab fabric, or “parachute cloth,” Gonzalez encouraged local artists and residents to contribute to the project. Gonzalez scheduled several community outreach dates for volunteers to participate.
The mural was made possible by the Caller-Times’ partnership with the Downtown Management District. In September 2015, the district approved the Caller-Times’ request to receive a Property Improvement Grant. The grant, which approved up to 50 percent of the project’s costs, was award $10,000 of the $28,000 cost for the mural.
“We want to become an art-centered district,” said Terry Sweeney, the district’s executive director. “(This mural) is another step toward embracing that goal.”
The Caller-Times is the first business to receive the grant for a mural, but the district has also awarded the grant to the Art Center of Corpus Christi, which is in the planning stages of erecting its own mural.
The Caller-Times mural is designed to breathe new life into downtown, and sometimes that revitalization starts with the click of a smartphone camera.
“I want people to take a photo, experience the mural and share it with their friends,” Caller-Times President Libby Averyt said. “I hope we start seeing graduation photos or wedding photos here.”
Averyt’s vision is already becoming a reality.
Residents have already posed at the foot of the mural with its massive mandalas and colorfully painted native wildlife to take selfies, wedding photos and for birth announcements.
Rachel Massad and her husband, Phillip, are among that group.
The husband and wife smiled as they recently held four gold balloons that spelled out G-I-R-L in front of the mural.
Residents who take their photos in front of the public art like the city’s newest mural are able to share their perspective of the city on social media.
The mural has not only generated interest in the city but also has made it possible for more public art to follow in its footsteps.
The mural was made possible by a partnership with the Downtown Management District, which resulted in the approval of a $10,000 grant. The Property Improvement Grant, awarded in September 2015, went toward the project’s $28,000 total cost.
The Art Center of Corpus Christi also applied for and received another Property Improvement Grant that will go toward its own mural this fall.
Remember, if you take a picture in front of the mural, be sure to use the hashtag #VivaCC. We keep an eye out to see how you’re celebrating in our community. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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We hope you can come down to the Caller-Times and enjoy the mural with us. The Caller-Times building is located at 820 N. Lower Broadway in Corpus Christi, TX. If you want more information, we can be reached Monday-Friday at 361-884-2011 or toll-free at 1-800-827-2011.