Brownsville announces mural contest winners

The downtown area could soon be getting splashes of fresh color.

A Brownsville committee of 11 local leaders have announced Tuesday the four winners for the city’s Murals Without Borders contest.

The winners are “Un Mismo Corazon” by Marisa Latigo of Matamoros; “A Hop, Skip, and a Jump” by Marcelina Gonzales, a University of Texas at Brownsville graduate; “Liberty Lighting the World” by Robert Ruiz, a Brownsville native; and “Aguilas” by Santos Villarreal, a native of Matamoros.

The contest was opened city-wide Aug. 1 and provided artists with the opportunity to depict a world without borders to symbolize the unity of the Brownsville-Matamoros region and provide public art for the community.

“It was the idea between two cities in trying to work together… a lot of the times, we always focus on working together on economic development or business and that kind of stuff,” said Ramiro Gonzalez, director of government and community affairs for the City of Brownsville. “The culture kind of goes by the way side, and we are starting to work on some of these smaller projects, smaller initiatives to bring both communities together and get them excited around a certain topic. Both communities got together, and you can see the results now. It is just generally trying to use the art as a convener.”

The contest was sponsored by the Brownsville Beautification Committee, the City of Brownsville, the City of Matamoros, the Mexican Consulate of Brownsville and the Consulate General of the United States of America in Matamoros.

Gonzalez said at least 40 murals were entered in the contest and the committee narrowed the field to their nine favorites, then six favorites and then the four winners.

“To get down to four was slightly difficult,” Gonzalez said. “The murals were really, really good, and they all had their value, but the committee felt that these four were the ones that kind of rose to the top on communicating the friendship, bicultural, binational theme of the contest.”

The winners will be allowed to paint their murals in the alley behind the Casa Nylon building in the downtown area and possibly other buildings in the area.

“If anybody is interested and would like to work with the city on hosting one of these murals, we are certainly open to it, we are not limiting it to that wall,” Gonzalez said.

Each artist will receive a $1,500 plus supplies, funded by the Brownsville Beautification Committee. They will work with city officials to determine the final placement. An official ceremony unveiling the murals will be held later when the art is completed.

“I think over the next couple of months we can see some pretty good activity given the weather will be a lot cooler and better to work in,”Gonzalez said.