Artists say they wanted to do something for the community

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Two local artists are donating a sculpture to the City of Alice, which they hope will brighten up the downtown area for years to come.

The Alice City Council recently voted to accept the donation of a sculpture from John Farias and Servando Hinojosa, two local artists.

The sculpture, called "Alicia y Juan," depicts a silhouette of a man and woman in traditional clothing dancing a Spanish waltz.

Farias, an Alice native, said he got the idea for the sculpture when he saw two dancers during a festival one night in Laredo.

The owner of his own oil and gas business, Farias said he thought the sculpture would be a way to give back to the community he loves.

"I've been here all my life, and I've always wanted to do something for Alice," Farias said. "I think artwork, besides being something to look at, brings the community together and gives us an identity."

The carbon steel sculpture measures 12-feet long and 12-feet high, and will be slightly flexible, so that strong wind will give the appearance of motion to the dancers. Hinojosa said the metal work was especially important to the artists.

"There's a lot of welders, a lot of metal construction in Alice. I think the metal we used reflects on the economy, on the jobs that are done here in Alice," Hinojosa said. "There's oil, but before the oil you need to have the metal fabricators erect all the rigs.

"The sculpture itself reflects the art, the culture and the construction of metal work structures around Alice."

Alice City Manager Albert Uresti said the city has agreed to construct a base for the sculpture, at an estimated cost of $10,000 to $15,000. The sculpture will be located in the downtown area, although the exact site has not yet been selected.

"I think it's going to add to the history of the culture here in Alice," Uresti said. "We're excited. I think it shows a part of the old Hispanic culture here in the city."

The sculpture could be in place as early as Christmas, and Hinojosa said he appreciated the support of the council for the project.

"We're very proud of the sculpture, and I'm very happy the city council is willing to help the people that are trying to beautify Alice," Hinojosa said. "We're very happy to have them jump on this immediately."

Farias said he believed the sculpture would add to the downtown atmosphere, and could one day be an important piece of the city.

"I'm very proud of our little community," Farias said. "This can be a beacon that people can draw to."