CRG, the real estate development and investment arm of Chicago-based Clayco, has completed a new public art installation gracing the facade of the five-story parking garage at Broadway Chapter, its recently completed multifamily development in Fort Worth’s Near Southside cultural district.
The 242-unit community at 401 Hemphill St. will welcome its first residents in July.
CRG partnered with Near Southside’s ArtSouth to select and commission a mural from North Texas artist Eric “Drigo” Rodriguez.
The artist selection was driven from a community-led vetting process in February that resulted in 89 applications during the region’s historic ice storm.
CRG supplied a $50,000 budget and worked closely with ArtSouth program administrators, who extended the application deadline and supported artists as many completed applications from their cars, warming centers and other public spaces available during the statewide power failures.
CRG worked with a selection committee of Near Southside arts and cultural leaders that included architects, studio artists, gallerists, public artists and art education professionals.
The vetting process yielded four finalists.
The committee said Rodriguez was awarded the commission due to his immense talent and creativity and the important cultural voice he offers as a Latinx artist representing a historically marginalized community.
“We believe that art can inspire and enhance the daily living experience of our residents,” Shawn Clark, president of CRG, said in a news release. “Our buildings are canvases and an important way for us to give back to the communities we join. We were delighted to work with Drigo and ArtSouth to create a vibrant artwork that resonates with the community.”
The 5,000-square-foot mural covers the southern facade of Broadway Chapter’s parking garage, visible from Peter Smith Street.
“In so many ways, the Near Southside’s creative community is leading our district in exciting new directions, and Drigo’s mural at Broadway Chapter perfectly captures the neighborhood’s creative energy and personality,” said Mike Brennan, president of Near Southside Inc. “Art in general, and specifically this type of highly visible public art that we all engage with on a daily basis, plays such a major role in connecting our community and enhancing our shared experience living and working in such a great place. Drigo’s work and CRG’s partnership set a new standard for privately funded and publicly accessible art in Fort Worth.”
Rodriguez is a native of McKinney and has been painting for eight years.
His figurative contemporary mural at Broadway Chapter depicts a colorful scene with tropical imagery that spans five massive concrete panels. Over a months-long time span, he completed all of the work by hand, from priming the concrete panels to sketching the large-scale work and painting the design using a mechanical lift supplied by CRG.
He said he was honored to have this opportunity to collaborate with CRG and ArtSouth to bring this vision to life.
“Murals offer a special opportunity to spontaneously impact people’s lives, as anyone can walk by and not only enjoy the work, but also find inspiration in it. Near Southside is this melting pot kind of neighborhood, so I’ve used imagery of plants from all over the world and different cultures coming together,” Rodriguez said. “There’s always meaning within every element of my work, but I hope people find their own inspiration and interpretation for what it means to them.”
He completed the mural in just under three months, partnering with friends and fellow artists Stephanie Cortes, Joshua Romero, Hatziel Flories and Will Harpham who helped with priming, sketch work, color fill and final detailing.
This is CRG’s third major art installation and second for its Chapter residential brand.
“These installations are really a dialogue with the community,” Clark said. “We want to be a part of the communities where we develop, and we hope these projects reflect the character and culture of each.”