‘Art’ planters going for $300 downtown

HARLINGEN — The city’s downtown district is seeking artistically-inclined benefactors to fund decorative planters.

So far, four of the dozen planters to be commissioned as art projects have been funded, but eight are available, Downtown Manager Edward Meza said yesterday.

“Some are going to be made of stained glass, others are going to be made out of tiles and broken pieces,” Meza said.

“Some of the tiles are going to be made by students, the idea being getting students involved at the high school and having the 12 planters have a theme.”

Artist Roberta Lee will design the prototype planter around a theme of “tropical.” Other planters will be created by art students at Harlingen High School using tiles, clay, stained glass, mortar and glazes.

“One’s going to be the beach, one’s going to be King Cotton and another one might be architecture, something that represents the downtown,” he added.

“We’re going to place them in areas that are strategic, which is going to have an impact. If there’s an area that needs some embellishment, we’re going to put them there.”

The city’s downtown district already is thick with art galleries, along with dozens of colorful murals which have been painted over the years and serve as a tourist attraction.

The planters, Meza said, will number 12 and are available for a $300 sponsorship. With that, benefactors will be recognized with their name or names in a tile on the decorative piece.

“Hopefully, we’ll find more when we get more sponsors,” Meza said. “There’s going to be a map, and it’s going to talk about what the theme is, who the artist is, which group of students did that, and people can follow it around the downtown area.

“It’s to beautify the downtown area and have a different type of art,” Meza added.

The expanded artistic sensibility for the downtown district isn’t going to end there, he said. Meza said that in addition to the murals and now the planters, the district is moving forward with a plan to finally install sculptures at some sites.

“With the sculptures, we’re just working on the policies for placement and working with the artists,” he added.

Meza said years ago pads for sculptures were installed at several places in the district, but the city decided instead to put boulders on the pads.

“I love the way they look, but we want to add that touch of making it artsy,” he said.

Downtown Planters By the Numbers

* SPONSORSHIP: $300 for full, $150 for co-sponsorship, $100 shared by three

* ALREADY FUNDED: 4

* AVAILABLE: 8

* TOTAL: 12

Source: Harlingen’s Downtown Improvement District