Above and lower left
Close-ups of the Spanish explorer and the goat boy from the Tejano Monument sculpted by Armando Hinojosa. The granite setting was designed by Jaime Beaman, AIA, with design assistance from Lars Stanley, FAIA, for the bronze railing and plaque supports.
Remembering the Tejanos by Larry Paul Fuller
the idea of a Tejano monument in 2001, and after a long road to fruition, the 250-ton installation featuring 11 life-size bronze statues was dedicated on the Capitol’s south lawn March 29. And of course Jaime Beaman was there, because it was he who designed the setting for the bronze pieces created by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa. The ensemble includes a vaquero (cowboy) on his mustang, two longhorns, a family of settlers, and — at the highest level of the base and facing the Capitol building — a Spanish explorer surveying the broad sweep of land. The Legislature approved
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Beaman points to two major turning points in the design process that made a big difference. The first was convincing board members in charge of the process (including the Texas State Preservation Board) that the initial concept of “a large marble structure with columns, arches, and pedestals” was ill-conceived. “I told them, ‘This
Tejanos tamed the frontier, introduced cattle ranching and farming, and even fought for independence. is a Roman temple,’” Jaime recalls. ‘We are not Romans, we are Tejanos!’” Next, he succeeded in selling the idea of mounting the statues on an “outcropping” of granite rock. Even better, the final execution results from Beaman’s selection of a single piece of rock from the Marble Falls area, the source for the granite in the Capitol. There he selected stone “with a beautiful black vein running through it,” and worked with rock sculptors to determine the final contours of the stone and how the statues would be placed. “When we placed the final sculpture (the cow), I was overwhelmed with the emotion,” Beaman recalls. “My part of the monument was as perfect as I could make it.” Larry Paul Fuller is guest editor of Texas Architect.
MONUMENT PHOTO BY RICK PATRICK PHOTOGRAPHY; DETAILS BY JULIE PIZZO
ack in the year 2000, McAllen physician Cayetano Barrera was visiting the Texas Capitol grounds when he noticed that none of their 18 monuments recognized the story of Texas’ early Spanish and Mexican explorers and settlers — an account that dates back to 1519 when Spaniards first arrived on the coast. “In fact, the history of Texas was being told as if it all started with Anglos at the battle of the Alamo,” says Jaime Beaman, AIA, of Casa Bella Architects in Austin. “Absent was the earlier history made by Tejanos, who were the descendants of Spanish and Mexican settlers. They tamed the frontier, introduced cattle ranching and farming, and even fought for independence.”