New mural at Denver Harbor Community Center depicts the neighborhood – Houston Public Media
A new mural depicting the cultural fabric of the Port of Denver community was unveiled Friday at its newly renovated one-stop-shop.
Local Houston artist David Maldonado said he was inspired by feedback from community members to depict the services offered at the center like education and gardening, as well as the community’s history of the Denver Harbor.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was honored to have Denver Port community members using their voices.
“We thank you for sharing your voice in the process that has developed this work of art and it is a community now taking control of its destiny,” said Turner.
The mural covers a wall outside the service center as well as the pillars of the building. The mural includes imagery inspired by traditional Mexican-American folk art, storytelling, street culture, and residents of the Port of Denver community.
As a Mexican-American artist with ties to Denver’s port district through his grandparents, Maldonado wanted the community to have memories of his culture and the history of his neighborhood through the ‘art.
“I’ve tried to do some memorable things for the community here. My grandparents were here not too long ago in the Second Ward and Port area of Denver,” he said.
Maldonado was chosen by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to design the mural. It took Maldonado a month to complete the mural. He says his latest creation is more than just a mural, but also a way to welcome people into the community.
“I hope it’s an invitation, you know, I think sometimes even people who don’t know the English language very well, I mean seeing these elements, I feel like it’s an invitation.”
Council member Karla Cisneros represents District H, which includes the Port of Denver.
She said a community member pitched her the idea for a mural after the one-stop shop renovations.
“Juan was asking me what about a mural? What about the outside of the building?”
Cisneros, a council member, said she was working with the mayor to get things done in the Denver Harbor neighborhood.
“I think Denver Harbor has really come a long way under this mayor and under this councilman, and I’m thrilled and just couldn’t be happier today.”
Maldonado said he hopes current and future members of the community will feel a sense of belonging in the mural.
“It’s not just an aesthetic wall that adapts to the aesthetics of a community. It’s permission to create, it’s permission to feel it’s permission to be present”, did he declare. It’s permission to celebrate our past. It’s a permission to feel the present and a permission to celebrate the future and what’s to come.”
The unveiling was attended by Maldonado himself along with Mayor Sylvester Turner, Council Member Carla Cisneros, Houston Department of Health Director Stephen Williams. Houston Arts Alliance Director Grace Zuniga, Director, and Elia Noah, Owner of Up Art Studios.
The mural is now included in the permanent works of art that represent the city of Houston and the second mural under Mayor Sylvester Turner that enters the city’s civic art collection.
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