The Virgin of Launderette

Arte Texas begins plans for restoration of iconic mural

photo by Jana Birchum

Close on the heels of the restoration of East Cesar Chavez's Lotería mural, artists are now ready to restore another culturally resonant street canvas.

"Our next project is restoring the virgin," said Bertha Delgado, president of the East Town Lake Citizens Neighborhood Assoc­iation, referring to the faded painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the side of what is now Launderette at 2115 Holly.

Created in 1992, the virgin's face is hardly distinguishable after being exposed to more than two decades' worth of elements, Del­gado said. She has given Launderette owner Margaret Vela a proposal asking for $3,000 to buy supplies and to pay the three artists tapped to restore the project – Martin Coronado, Raymond Robledo, and Mike Treviño – for their work. The mural's original artist has since passed away. (At press time, Vela had not responded to a request for comment.)

Delgado, who has long spearheaded efforts to restore community art, recently formed the nonprofit Arte Texas (see "La Lotería Returns," July 10) from which she disbursed payment for artists' work. The nonprofit's coffers – which consisted of the $13,000 SXSW donated to restore the Lotería mural – are all but depleted now, after paying artists and buying supplies for that project. "I'd say there's about $800 left," Del­gado said. "I paid every artist $700 and each student artist $150. We also purchased all the materials, and the paint alone cost about $1,500 and the spray paint $400."

To fortify her fledgling nonprofit, Delgado is planning on launching a website through which people can make further donations toward preserving the community's artwork. Separately, more artwork preservation is on the horizon thanks to city funds earmarked as part of a broader beautification of some 90 acres of Holly Shores parkland. Some $120,000 in City Council-approved funds has been allotted to restore and preserve artwork, including the Chicano Park mural at Martin Pool, artist Armando Martinez's piece at the Metz Pool, and 11 walls at the shuttered Holly Street Power Plant.

But those municipal funds won't be allocated until early next year. For now, the focus is on the virgin. "The virgin is vanishing," Delgado said. "And that's the reason we're restoring the wall."

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Bertha Delgado, Launderette, Arte Texas, La Lotería, Virgin of Guadalupe

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