Animo Sin Fronteras (Spirit Without Borders)
Photography by Mark Paulda
El Paso street art celebrates local culture.
El Paso artists paint the town red — and just about every color. More than a hundred murals dot the city, capturing the region's cultural pride with depictions of community leaders, religious figures, and other symbols. Segundo Barrio (a neighborhood along the border) and downtown bear the lion's share of these public art pieces; the neighborhoods themselves have become fitting places for art walks.
A 1975 mural in Segundo Barrio, at 513 Father Rahm Ave., is one of the oldest outdoor art pieces in the city. Artists Arturo Avalos, Gabriel Ortega, Pablo Schaffino, and Pascual Ramirez painted the Aztec geometric patterns that adorn the wall. It's become a symbol of pride for the area, nodding to El Paso's close ties to Mexico and indigenous peoples.
Many other murals reflect the city's cross-border cultural connections, like Animo Sin Fronteras (Spirit Without Borders, shown above), which features Melchor Flores flexing his muscles in the heart of downtown at Mills Avenue and Stanton Street. The mural, by artists David Herrera and El Mac, captures the universal struggle for justice.
Also downtown, Reflections of the Desert, painted by Creative Kids, a nonprofit educational community-based art agency, showcases the desert landscape and the local ethos — a woman gazes across the horizon with the determination El Pasoans are known for. You'll find this mural along the pedestrian walkway to the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center.
Murals in Union Plaza, a restaurant and nightlife hub next to Southwest University Park, present El Paso iconography, from the Star on the Mountain to "La Equis" in Ciudad Juárez. El Paso Wings, for instance, is a hidden picture hunt. As you gaze at the work, Mount Cristo Rey, Aztec figures, the UTEP Miners' pick, and other images reveal themselves — all reflections of the city's vibrant culture and pride.
A colorful depiction of the Franklin Mountains, including the Star on the Mountain, in the Union Plaza District.
Artist and name unknown.