The International Southmost Choice Neighborhood Plan has announced the selection of two talented muralists, Sara Barriera and Ashley Dickey, who will create murals at Tony Gonzalez Park in Brownsville.
The selection process involved a community voting event held at the park where residents could vote online or in person as part of a collaborative project between the City of Brownsville and the Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant made the funding possible.
The selected murals had to incorporate at least two elements specified by the community: family, culture, town history, children playing outside, sports, native wildlife and habitat, and special events. Each artist has their unique perspective and inspiration for their mural:
Sara Barriera's mural draws inspiration from her experience living between two border cities, Texas and Matamoros. She expresses a deep connection to her city and a profound understanding of her parents' decisions to move between cities. Her artwork represents resilience, combining the sky, the border, earth, water, flora, and herself. It reflects the strength and delicacy that coexist within the people of Brownsville, who live in unique circumstances due to their border location.
"This artwork is called Border Kid, and it represents that resilience that comes naturally to the people that reside in Brownsville; we live in unique circumstances, and because of this, it makes our cities such a wonderful place to be," Barriera said.
Ashley Dickey's mural, titled "Feather," is inspired by her ongoing exploration of birds as a subject. She sees feathers as powerful symbols that signify a connection between the owner, the Creator, and the bird from which the feather originated. Feathers symbolize trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, and freedom.
In Ashley Dickey's view, Brownsville is a place of unique cultural fusion between Mexico and the U.S. It represents freedom and a blending of cultures, akin to the unity birds experience since they don't perceive borders, just as Ashley believes humans shouldn't. In her mural, two birds come together to create a single culture, symbolizing the harmonious coexistence of these two nations in Brownsville.
"Brownsville is this magical fusion between Mexico and the US, two nations that are truly important to me. Brownsville symbolizes the spirit of freedom, a freedom that has fostered a melting pot of cultures, a border that birds do not understand since it does not exist to them and should not exist for the human race. That's when these two birds on the mural meet, creating one culture," Ashley Dickey said.
These murals promise to be meaningful and beautiful additions to Tony Gonzalez Park, reflecting Brownsville's rich cultural tapestry and unique character.