La Antorcha de la Amistad / Torch of Friendship was presented as a gift from the Mexican government to the City of San Antonio in 2002. The artist of the sculpture is world-renowned Mexican sculptor, Sebastián, and was commissioned by the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos AEM (Mexican Entrepreneur Association.) Nearly 60 feet high, it stands in a traffic island at intersection of Losoya, Commerce, Market, and N. Alamo Streets. Controversial when it was first erected (one of the more benign characterizations was that it looked like Gumby delivering a pizza) it is now a much-loved iconic feature in the San Antonio skyline. The artist described the concepts of the sculpture a torch rising from the ground, and as a symbolization of two different actors—the United States of America and Mexico—running together: “Sometimes it is complex. Sometimes it is harmonious. But the two countries are always close and always with a complex friendship. That’s what I am trying to express with this combination of forms.” You’ll get a glimpse of the torch from every walk on every day.
The Spirit of Healing is an eight-story high angel watching over the Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, on the edge of Milam Park, which is part of Friday’s Friendship Walk. The mural, installed in 2002, is composed of 2,000 pieces of tile of 70 different colors placed together to create a 93 feet high by 43 feet wide mural, reported to be the largest in the United States. The artist Jesse Treviño’s son was used as the model for the young boy shown in the mural. Treviño lost his right hand in Vietnam while he was on military duty there. After years of recovery, he relearned how to continue his art, and this angelic mural is both symbolic to him in his recovery and overcoming setbacks, and to the children and their families who come to this hospital.
The Guinness Book of World Records recently recognized the Cowboy Boots that stand outside Saks 5th Avenue in the Northstar Mall as the largest sculpture of cowboy boots in the world. They stand 40 feet tall and weigh a combined 5 tons; you can’t miss them if you are driving downtown from the airport. The boots were originally made in 1979 by artist Bob Wade for Washington Project for the Arts and they spent a year on an empty lot a stone’s throw from the White House. When that show was done, the owners of the North Star Mall bought them for $20,000 and had them shipped to San Antonio on three flatbed 18-wheelers, and officially reassembled on Jan. 16, 1980. They are lit at night. One year, during the rodeo, a country music station broadcast from inside one of the boots.