On Sunday I headed out to Chalk the Block 2013 to get the boys out of the house for a few hours. Because of the construction in San Jacinto Plaza, the event was moved from the park to the area outside the Convention Center and down the way on Franklin street by the Museum of History.
There were also a bunch of pop-up galleries open for the event and from where we parked we were able to view a few along our walk.
Despite the disjointed nature, due to the construction, it was well attended and there was plenty of great works on display:
As we wound our way around, we were able to view some of the new artistic fencing that replaces the old chain link over the railroad bridges. The El Paso Public Art Program commissioned different artists to create replacement fencing, adding some much needed character to the bridges where the railroad snakes under downtown.
As in the past, the event is also host to lots of alternative art performances and kinetic sculptures by artists from around the USA. You can really spend the whole day and night with musical performances and local food trucks keeping your body and mind fed. After a couple of hours it was time for us to fly home:
A while back it was decided to let the Muir building get razed since it was considered “non contributing” and deemed to expensive to restore by the owner. The general gist was that the modifications by the various tenants over the years had removed much of what made it historic. In its last role as a Payless Shoe Store it did look that way.
You can debate that all day long but until you start taking down walls, you don’t really know. There’s a good pic taken by Jim Tolbert at the elpasonaturally blog that shows how much was really left under the facade. Now I’m no engineer, but it looks like there was quite a bit of the original building left that could have been worked with:
Buildings come and buildings go. It’s a tough decision and if the money isn’t there or if its not financially feasible to the owner what are you going to do? You would hope the need to preserve the past would trump the pocketbook but its rare when that actually happens.
I drove by the spot were the Muir sat and if there’s a small silver lining to all of this, its what was hidden behind it:
Its a pretty nifty look at some old building signage that I would guess predates the Muir’s construction. I hope it doesn’t get immediately painted over in favor of white so that the future patrons of this, soon to be parking lot spot, will get to see some history.