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Feb 05

The Tejano Monument

Pouring the torso

Pouring the man's torso

The New Year at Stevens Art Foundry began with a scramble to complete the last few pieces of the Tejano Monument, which is scheduled to be unveiled in Austin on the prominent south lawn of the Capitol on March 29, 2012. The Tejano Monument commemorates the contributions and achievements of the early Spanish and Mexican pioneers of Texas. The unveiling culminates a ten-year, $2 million dollar journey through the Texas Legislature. Stevens Art Foundry is honored to have been chosen to cast the largest public monument placed at a state capitol in the United States.

Armando Hinojosa sculpted the monument, and the massive public artwork includes 12 life-sized figures including:

  • A Tejano couple holding an infant
  • A Spanish explorer
  • A vaquero sitting on a mustang
  • A longhorn bull and cow
  • A boy wrangling a stubborn goat
  • A girl tending sheep
Woman holding a baby

Original clay model of the woman holding a baby covered with silicon to form the mold

The 12 individual pieces will be placed on top of a 275-ton granite block from Marble Falls, which is where the granite used to construct the Capitol came from. The finished sculpture will occupy 525 square feet on the Capitol’s south lawn, a location that previously had a moratorium against any public artwork, is the largest statuary at any state capitol in the nation. All of the life-sized bronzes have been cast, finished, and patinated at Stevens Art foundry.

The monument celebrates the contributions of Tejanos in the evolution of Texas and Tejano role in the rich history and culture of the Lone Star State. Traditional Texas history emphasized the 1830s, which highlighted the Anglo involvement in the struggle for independence from Mexico, but a more complete history of Texas begins hundreds of years earlier when Spanish explorers arrived and pioneered the ranching and farming tradition that is now synonymous with the traditional Texas lifestyle.

The concept for the Tejano Monument was conceived in 2000 when a McAllen physician noticed that none of the 18 other statues and monuments around the Capitol recognized the contribution of Tejanos to Texas history. Hinojosa, the gifted sculptor known for several other important works, believes the monument will be a key part of his legacy because, “This is where I come from. It’s my Tejano heritage too.”

Consequently, Hinojosa wanted to make each individual piece of the monument a masterwork. In other words, the sculptor wanted each individual piece to be able to stand on its own merits. Moreover, the committee members insisted that Hinojosa pay close attention to historical detail in each figure. Hinojosa, a stickler for detail himself, points out that every aspect of each individual sculpture is true to the period it represents. The clothes, the hats, vest, and pistol – even the split-bottom pants worn by the haciendado (the owner or proprietor of a hacienda) – are true representations of the period the figure represents. To ensure the mustang and longhorns are accurate portrayals, Hinojosa bought his own mustang and longhorn to use as reference points.

For information about the Tejano Memorial, please visit the monument’s website, and for more information about the sculptor, please visit our featured sculptors page.