900 ft. of Murals Honoring the Community
Located along Bolm Rd. in East Austin, TX is a curation of fourteen different art installations, spanning nine-hundred feet, representing the surrounding community. This undertaking was in partnership with Raasin in the Sun, the Govalle Neighborhood Association, and commissioned by the city of Austin’s Neighborhood Partnering Program.
This large-scale restoration and beautification project highlights the Govalle neighborhood’s past, present, and future. This vibrant art represents the importance of giving back to the community, the value of taking care of your neighbors, honoring our planet, and the importance of sustainability.
Twelve Installations Unite
This community mural, in partnership with Candaid, hosted over 200 people who came out with their families and friends to make their mark in East Austin. This community masterpiece highlights the importance of reusing and recycling for the health of our planet and the future of our generations to follow.
Mary & Daniel Guerra
This piece highlights Mary & Daniel Guerra and their family legacy. They have lived in the Bolm Rd. neighborhood for nearly 60 years (previously known as Fisher Gardens), and they always stressed the importance of never giving up and following your dreams. The roses in the background are a nod to Daniel’s favorite flower, and the paper airplane pays homage to their grandson who is becoming a pilot, with family initials scrawled on the plane. Family and community are everything to the Guerra’s. Mary says, “It’s not where you live, it’s how you raise your children.”
Protectors of the Red Bluff
This 60x80 foot mural by Ruben Esquivel honors his great uncles who fought to protect this land in Austin.
The piece depicts the Rivera brothers (Pete, Raymond, and Gilbert Rivera) with the Red Bluff area and its majestic tree covered landscape peeking through the background. The Ganado style design work is a nod to the family's indigenous roots, and the monarch is a metaphor for the family's history as migrant workers as they would travel north every year for work.
Preserving the history of minority communities in East Austin is integral to this work. It's important that these stories are shared to educate natives, newcomers, children and adults alike so that they can better understand the communities they come from and reside in.
Bolm Road Tag
This piece was designed with the sole purpose of capturing togetherness, unity and power behind coming together for the well-being of both humanity and our earth, through honoring an Austin East Side legend, Mr. Johnny Limón.
Starting at the far left of this mural is a hand carrying the earth, illustrated to symbolize the act of caring for, and nurturing, our humanity. To the right is Johnny posing as Santa Claus, an annual tradition that he would do on Calle Limón. Towards the center of the mural is a portrait of Johnny Limón, showcased to honor his legacy amongst the community he not only deeply impacted, but also protected. Next to his portrait is a sketched-style image of two people from the neighborhood playing basketball, and to the right of that is a Mexico flag showcased inside the outline of a Texas State silhouette, designed to represent Johnny’s passion for Tex-Mex Tejano music. Finally, there is a depiction of an arm holding a white flag, symbolizing the oil companies that surrendered due to their negative impacts in East Austin.
It Takes A Village
This piece focuses on the unique relationship the Govalle neighborhood has with the local Bantam chickens. To be driving through an urban cityscape with skyscrapers rising on each side, to suddenly be in a neighborhood and catch a glimpse of a pack of chickens is quite an experience. These feathered friends serve as a reminder of the more quiet and pastoral times in the East side of Austin.
They are proud, protective and passionate, and they speak out with their strong, robust voices. Every day a little more changes in the neighborhood, but the chickens always adapt. This is their home, and as they grow with their surroundings, they know that they are where they belong - the place where they are always able to find their way back. Because when together, they’re home.
Mylo Mendez of Chroma Collective
This mural is a collaboration between Chroma Collective and the young artists of Govalle Elementary. Three Sisters represents the indigenious gardening system of planting squash, corn, and beans together. Using this method, the qualities of each plant serve the other, protecting each other from pests and sun and nourishing the soil. As a metaphor for community, Three Sisters features imagery of plants and people existing in harmony, and the motto “plant seeds of kindness” as a nod to the community that exists both at Govalle Elementary and the Govalle neighborhood as a whole.
The journey of this mural begins with the PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources) organization’s dedication and persistence to have the tank farms, which contaminated families and neighborhoods, relocated. It highlights “planting the seeds” and how strong the community fought to successfully preserve the Pecan Tree Grove.
Families have been seen for decades collecting pecans during the harvest season at the grove, which also serves as a cornerstone year round. The mural transitions to the fluorescent flowers and ballet folklorico dancer, depicting where the community would celebrate victories at Fiesta Gardens. All of these instances together create a common denominator which equals belief in family - a group of people united.
The front of this seemingly random doorway tells a story of how the Govalle neighborhood and East Austin is often perceived: fun, hip, interesting shops, unique local art, and quirky restaurants. But when you unlatch this door you find what is often lost - the people, history and development of this area.
Written on the inside of the door is a depiction of the 1928 Austin City Plan (page 57) that lays out a government sponsored scheme to segregate the African American population in East Austin:
“It is our recognition that the nearest approach to race segregation problem will be the recommendation of this district as a negro’s district and that all the facilities and conveniences be provided the negros in this district as an incentive to draw the negro population to this area. This will eliminate the necessity of duplication of white and black schools, white and black parks, and other duplicate facilities for this area.”
Samara Barks created this piece honoring the three founders (Janie Rangel, Sylvia Harrera, and Susana Almanza) of PODER, a women of color and community-led grassroots environmental justice organization. This mural is centered around hope for future generations of East Austin.
The left side of the wall illustrates the protests and the despair that living near the tank farms brought. The middle shows the three founders of PODER and the hope they brought to their community. The right side shows the youth, symbolizing the future generations that will reap the benefits of what PODER and its members have done and continue to do.
Catie focused on the development of the Govalle neighborhood, which started in the 1850’s by a Swedish cattle rancher. This design features Texas’ iconic longhorns and wildflowers, purposefully done in warm, inviting colors to reflect the welcoming energy of the East Austin neighborhood.
The term “Go Valle” is Swedish for “good grazing,” which is why the artist incorporated all of the natural greenery into the piece. Catie says, “My hope is that viewers can see the colorful scene as a window or portal into the past, as if you’re looking directly into ‘what once was’ as you drive down Bolm Road.” It even continues with the depiction of the Bantam chickens featured in other murals along the road.