Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tejano Monument at the State Capitol, part 1

We are so happy and excited to be involved in the unveiling of the Capitol building's new Tejano Monument! The Monument is a 525 square foot statuary that will tell the history of Texas' original Spanish-Mexican settlers and celebrate Tejano culture through a series of 12 pieces, created by Laredo artist Arnando Hinojisa. The project has been a labor of loved for all of its creators and supporters, having been conceptualized in 2001 by McAllen physician Cayetano Barrera. Following a visit to the State Capitol here in Austin, Barrera realized none of the existing monuments featured a positive portrayal of Hispanic culture, and he began a campaign to bring the Tejano Monument to fruition. After struggling for funding, approval to give the monument an appropriately central location on the Capitol grounds and willingness to give Tejano history meaningful cultural recognition, this weekend will see Barrera's dream transition to reality - located on the South Lawn of the Capitol, the Tejano Monument is a celebration of the contributions Hispanic culture has given Texas, and an acknowledgement that our state could not be as great as it is without the Tejano people. 

This monument marks a new era in the 500 year struggle Tejanos have gone through to have their heritage recognized as an essential piece of Texas history. Alongside the unveiling of the statuary, UT Austin and the Wal-Mart foundation have teamed up to create a new curriculum for Austin schools, one which features a much more in-depth study of Tejano history. In a year which saw highly controversial moves from politicians regarding Hispanic cultures, including a decision in Tucson, Arizona school districts to stop offering Mexican-American history classes, Texans have a reason to be proud of taking steps to give Hispanic culture the place of honor it deserves within our country's history. 

In a January 13 speech celebrating the Tejano Monument's groundbreaking, Senator Letitia Van de Putte proclaimed, "After March 29, when the monument is finally dedicated, I hope [Tejanos] will view it with pride and say, 'This is our state. We helped create it. We helped build it.We help define it. And we are essential to its future.'"

We went by the Capitol grounds to sneak a peek this weekend - the statues are being kept a secret until this weekend's big reveal. Here's what they look like now - check back in a few days to see our snaps of the statuary in full glory, plus the wonderful arrangements we're creating for the unveiling party!

And because these Pincushion Protea are too awesome not to share rightthisverysecond: 

Aren't they the coolest flower in the world? We can't wait to share the full arrangements with you guys! In the meantime, make sure you check out the Tejano Monument's official site for updates and more info. 

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