Located in the River Walk Public Art Garden, Labor Plaza is a space is a tribute to San Antonio’s labor movement as it was originally home to a sculpture of labor leader Samuel Gompers created in 1982 by Betty Jean Alden. Labor Plaza honors the history and legacy of labor in San Antonio, along with labor’s ties to social justice and civil rights causes.
The plaza is designed for viewers to walk through a spiral walkway. The spiral, a form commonly found in nature, allows people to take a journey throughout the space discovering different elements related to the local history of labor. Within the spiral walkway and gathering area, is a poem titled “So that Our Crossing May Never be Obstructed” by Octavio Quintanilla (San Antonio Poet Laureate 2018-2020). At the beginning of the poem Quintanilla addresses the reader directly with the use of the word “you,” as the poem ends the focus shifts to “we” to create an intertwining and universal experience.
In addition to the poem, Quintanilla created five artworks that were printed in ceramic tiles. These artworks include figurative and abstractions referencing elements found in the Plaza. The pieces are inspired by the Labor Movement, unions and the Mexican Muralist art movement. They are intended to capture moments of history and point to the future. Quintanilla drew inspiration from various phrases found in “Solidarity Forever” for the images “A New World, Con el corazón en alto and Organized.”
Medium type: Ceramic
Date created: 2022
500 East Market Street, San Antonio, TX, 78205