Friday, May 19, 2023

Gustavo "Gus" L. Garcia Recreation Center Mural Unveiling Ceremony

Join the Austin Parks and Recreation Department for the Gustavo "Gus" L. Garcia Recreation Center Mural Unveiling Ceremony on Saturday, May 27 at 9 a.m. at 1201 E. Rundberg Ln. This is an outdoor park event, so please dress comfortably. Created by artist Lindsey Millikan through Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, the large-scale mural prominently features a portrait of former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia as well as members of the community at play.

About Gustavo L. “Gus” Garcia
Gustavo L. “Gus” Garcia (1934-2018) was born in the border town of Zapata, Texas. When he was 10 years old, he moved to Laredo, Texas. He came from a humble background growing up and once described his family as “destitute” in those early years. Spanish was his mother tongue and he did not become fluent in English until he was in middle school. Garcia enlisted in the United States Army in 1954. After returning to Laredo in 1957, he married Marina Gonzalez and, soon after, moved to Austin and enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1959.
 
In Austin, Garcia and his family experienced racial discrimination. He was having difficulty finding a job as an accountant and renting or buying a home in certain parts of town. In 1967, Garcia made his entry into politics by attending a City Hall meeting to address the lack of Latino representation on the Human Rights Commission. By the end of that meeting Garcia found himself as a commission member, appointed by Council Member Dick Nichols. Years later, Garcia would file for the school board’s Place 7 Seat and prevail over the incumbent. In 1977, Garcia’s fellow trustees appointed him board president and soon started advocating for the need of more Latino leaders in Austin, both in politics and business.
 
In 1991 Garcia ran for Austin City Council, and defeated Gilbert Martinez to secure his seat. He was reelected in 1994, and again in 1997. During his time on the city council, Garcia focused on expanding facilities in East Austin, specifically in parks and recreation centers. He had many successes including the passing of the Save Our Springs ordinance, the completion of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, keeping what is now Austin Energy in the public’s hands, expanding jobs and recreation opportunities for youth, and continuously fighting for more Mexican American representation in Austin.
 
Garcia was elected as the Mayor on November 6, 2001, becoming the first elected Latino mayor of Austin. During his tenure as Mayor, Garcia overcame many challenges and shared great successes including instituting Austin’s smoking ban. Garcia was humble and did not seek credit though he toiled tirelessly to help Austin’s Mexican American population and other underserved communities. In later years, Garcia was an active member of the Recreation Center which bore his name, participating in many community activities.

About the Artist
Artist Lindsey Millikan was born and raised in Houston, Texas. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas State University, she moved to San Francisco to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Arts University. For over twelve years, Millikan has worked steadily in Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area on dozens of public art projects, murals, and installations. She keeps an active studio practice and regularly shows in group exhibitions in traditional galleries and untraditional venues.
 
The City of Austin Cultural Art Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. For additional information, visit www.austincreates.com.
 
Art in Public Places
The Art in Public Places Program (AIPP) acquires and maintains works of art for City facilities and parks through commissions, donations, and loans for the cultural enrichment of Austin’s community. The goal of the City’s Art in Public Places program is to commission art projects of redeeming quality that advance the public’s understanding of visual art and enhance the aesthetic quality of public places. For additional information, visit www.austincreates.com.

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