Ground broken on youth art center
Del Rio artist Adrian Falcon earlier this month began work on his latest venture: a youth art center near historic Brown Plaza.
Falcon and members of the Falcon Art Center Foundation, friends, neighbors and supporters gathered outside a long-defunct service station and tire shop in the 500 block of Cantu Street on Jan. 13 for a ceremony to mark the start of work on the center, which will be sited on the footprint of the old neighborhood service station.
Joel Langton, president of the Falcon Art Center Foundation, who also served as master of ceremonies for the event, called the groundbreaking “a historic event” and said the center “would be the first renewable and recyclable building in Del Rio, possibly southwest Texas.”
“We also know it’s going to be the first kids’ art center and gallery in southwest Texas,” Langton said.
Langton welcomed all who attended, including Carmen Gutierrez, who represented U.S. Rep. Will Hurd; former Mayor Dora Alcalá, Nirce Gomez, representing the Consulate of Mexico to the U.S. in Del Rio; and members of the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Falcon Youth Art Center Foundation.
Del Rio architect and artist Raul Padilla spoke about the history the property, noting his father had built the building in the 1920s.
“He was always interested in education, and he made us all go to school,” Padilla said.
“The gas station got pretty deteriorated because we just abandoned it, and Adrian said, ‘I have an idea: Why don’t we start a foundation?’ And I said I thought it would be nice to have an arts place for kids, for disadvantaged kids, and that’s what happened, thanks to Adrian,” Padilla added.
Falcon also welcomed those attending the event.
He said in 2013, he had a vision to go to Mexico, and sold nearly all of his belongings to follow that vision.
“I needed to find myself as an artist, as a person, and that’s how started going to Hidalgo, to Ixmiquilpan. That’s how the Centro de Arte Falcon Mexico was born, and thinking about this (youth) art center, it’s been five years in the works,” Falcon said.
Falcon emphasized he will now bring the lessons and techniques he has learned over the past five years back to his hometown.
“This comunidad – community – is going to boost the kids, and it’s not just for San Felipe. It’s for Del Rio, for Acuña and for surrounding areas. It’s going to be for everybody,” he said.
He also noted the building will be special in other ways.
“This building is going to be an example of how recyclable materials can be implemented into a building. It’s going to be recyclable. It’s going to be off the grid, meaning we’re going to use solar panels, not power from the power company. Everything is going to be recyclable,” Falcon said.
He said 80 percent of the existing building will be demolished, as much of the wood in the building has rotted and noted work on the facility will begin this month.
A local company, Contreras Construction, has pledged to donate labor and machinery to the effort.
“This is just the beginning. We’re instigating something very good here,” Falcon said.