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Client: MCAD, City of El Paso

Location: El Paso, TX, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Erin Ritter

MCAD, City of El Paso

Artist

Stephen Ingle

Creative Kids

Overview

Located underneath the Durango Bridge, three, 6-foot diameter steel piñatas hang from the bridge decking. The design concept incorporates the festive Mexican culture seen throughout the borderland with color theory and imagery weaved into the overall design. The three piñatas transform the Durango Bridge underpass as a lively, spirited space with light projecting through cut out shapes of each pointed cone. The lighted shapes will project onto all of the surfaces within the underpass space- ceilings, walls, columns, and floors, to evoke the spirit of festivity among the spectators.

Goals

In order to beautify its downtown area to and create an engaging area for both locals and visitors, the city created a pedestrian space that connects the Union Plaza Entertainment District to the Downtown Arts District. What used to be a desolate stretch of a publicly inaccessible parking lot, railroad tracks, and industrial loading docks, were transformed into a pedestrian friendly pathway. Filled with public art, this leisurely walk increases livability and walkability for the metropolitan area.
Piñatas can be found at almost every party or celebration in the El Paso area, and they also represent a traditional art form from the Mexican culture. Points of Light creates a welcoming element as visitors progress through the Pedestrian Pathway. The piñatas set the tone of the pathway that has become a frequent host to festivals and artistic activations. The underpass where Points of Light is installed is the boundary between the Union Plaza Entertainment District and the Downtown Arts District. The light that fills the area transforms the underpass into a warm and festive environment instead of the dark and cold space it had been.

Process

With the support of a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, the City was able to engage the community in helping design a pathway that would create space to display and showcase different art elements in a space that covers about three city blocks.
Creative Kids Art is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing a high-quality youth development program utilizing the visual arts to empower youth. Under the direction of El Paso artist Stephen Ingle, Creative Kids has completed public art projects throughout El Paso and received recognition from the White House for their work.
Creative Kids was involved in the Pedestrian Pathway design process from the very beginning. The student artists from area schools presented their ideas of what this pathway should look like at one of the many charrettes that were held as part of the Our Town Grant. This collaboration continued once Creative Kids was selected as one of the artists for the Pathway as some of the student artists in their art programs were selected to work on the art work that would be installed on the pathway.