While downtown this weekend, I stopped to focus on a sculptural installation right outside of the El Paso Museum of Art.
“Identidad Geometrica” was designed by Oswaldo Sagástegui and built by his son Mauricio Sagastegui. The abstract sculpture was installed at the entrance to EPMA, in the spot originally home to Luis Jimenez’s “Vaquero”.
A gift by a local art patron, it fills the void left by “Vaquero”. I miss the old “Vaquero” piece. It had raw power and emotion, greeting you with a vibrancy that’s a sharp contrast to “Identidad Geometrica’s” angular geometry.
“Identidad Geometrica” is a significant piece in its own right. At close to 16 ft high, it plays well with the sun as it travels across the the El Paso sky. The prism/triangle shapes cast interesting shadows and allow for unique views through them. It’s been here for a couple of years now and I suppose it will grow on me.
Sometimes the sun is in the right place.
The weather for this past weekends Art Market was perfect. Not a bit of wind unlike the previous, and the temps were much more in line with the season. The El Paso Diabetes Association held their annual Run/Walk downtown and as a result there was a lot more “foot traffic” at the Art Market:)
With the weather playing nice, I felt it was time to sample some of Independent Burgers‘ homemade ice cream! It’s good stuff but the fancy cart is what sells it. I wish they would come up with some way to have burgers as well…an Independent food truck might be a good idea.
I broke away for a bit to get some more pics of the freshly painted sphinx at the Scottish Rite Temple. For the past couple of years they had a color treatment that highlighted the headdress but recently returned it to the classical white:
The Temple sits adjacent to the recently opened Chihuahua’s Ballpark. It was nice to see it sans construction barricades and busy workers.
It’s really shoehorned into the old City Hall space but it works. It looks a lot nicer than City Hall ever did. I won’t complain and hope to get out to a game soon to take it all in. Back at the Art Market the races were finishing up and El Paso’s Ballet Forklorico was performing a demonstration:
Western Street where The Garden and Brick and Mortar sits is pretty cool now, a far cry from the days of being a dusty parking lot for Club 101. The brick walkway and recently added overhead lighting jazz up the space, making it great for outdoor events such as this. As always more pics can be found on flickr: Diabetes Run/Walk
One of the more unique buildings sitting off of San Jacinto Plaza is the Roberts-Banner building. I’ve checked it out a few times recently and used to frequent it for lunch in my runner/courier days, when it had a McDonalds.
It was built in 1910 and is one of the better surviving Trost buildings downtown, though it’s mostly vacant now. There had been a banner advertising its remodel but it’s either been removed or blown off. El Paso Development news reports the city’s interested in it, but no firm details.
The owners have the all the doors open, either in a bid to air it out or because the locks don’t work. It adds to the already surreal, frozen in time vibe, the interior has. There is one office that still houses a business, G J Jewelry:
The small space is packed and looks to have all the necessities for the trade. I’ve only been here on the weekends and haven’t seen anybody inside. The Christmas decorations sort of imply some level of inactivity, but you never know:
All of the office spaces are small one or two room affairs still sporting radiators for heat. You get the sense that this building was probably quite active in its past, housing all manner of solo practitioners, lawyers, doctors etc.
The Roberts-Banner is in a good spot overlooking the rebirth of our downtown. Lets hope the building gets its share of TLC too. Full set of pics here on flickr: Roberts-Banner Building
After setting up at the Art Market, I wandered off again to capture some more pics of buildings and such downtown. Early Saturday mornings still project a eerie ghost town feel, the only exception being the shopfronts that are readying to open for the day. The lone Starbucks downtown is closed on Saturdays so, NO LATTE FOR YOU! I did notice that one building on Mills Ave, that used to house Arby’s many years ago, now has a new facade. It’s a bit disappointing to see the owners went with a mirror treatment and not something more in keeping with the architecture of downtown.
I guess it will make it easy to keep clean:) The Banner Building next door still has it’s period charm though:
The Banner had a McDonald’s in it, like.. forever! I guess once the buses got moved from San Jacinto plaza, there was a big drop in business and they have since vacated. The Banner is interesting because it has a lot of little office spaces in it, mostly vacant now:
There’s a large notification that the Banner is getting remodeled, maybe timing for the re-opening of San Jacinto plaza. It would be cool to see it return to a hub of activity, with lots of neat little shops and offices or something. Hopefully they will retain some of its old timey aesthetic.
I passed a closed jewelry/ watch repair place but i’ll save that for another post…
Heading up Fred Wilson Boulevard, there’s an entrance into Fort Bliss for William Beaumont Army Medical Center. What’s interesting is a large collection of largely unused old barracks and a lone empty chapel, baking in the west Texas sun.
The first 3 easily accessible buildings are right across from a parking lot, making it easy to check out. Given that this is an active part of base, I heeded all trespass warnings and didn’t check to see if any of the buildings were open. Plus who knows why these aren’t in use, there’s probably all sorts of contaminants like lead or asbestos inside. At the very least there were large piles of nasty pigeon poop all over the place, so I stuck to the dirt.
The 3 barrack buildings were all the same construction in various states of disrepair. It’s too bad they can’t be used for some more interesting purpose. Donald Judd’s Chinati comes to mind. Down the way was a small boarded up chapel.
Upon closer inspection, the front door that was boarded up had been kicked in, exposing the interior:
Looking in, you could tell it was completely empty so I didn’t venture any farther than my lens would go. A curious feature was the bridge to the entrance which I guess in the past would have had water. There were probably lots of past marriages here with lots of photo opportunities.
I didn’t want to get stopped and asked a bunch of questions, so it was time to bug out. After grabbing a few more shots, I headed out. The full set can be seen on flickr here: Old Barracks on Fort Bliss
While heading down Texas street I stopped to grab a pic of a probably post-prohibition era sign, painted on the side of a building:
There are a few of these old wall signs left scattered around downtown and this one advertising Bevo makes it especially unique. Not far from it is a large wall mural by Tino Ortega:
The piece is pretty impressive, easy accessible while driving by. Most street art is best viewed by pounding the pavement and walking up to it though. The scope is always more impressive from the sidewalk level. One of the benefits of seeing it up close is you will will notice a nice companion piece nearby that would be easily missed in a passing car:
Sugar skull, guardian of the alley. Forever watching…waiting, what have you seen?