A mural up at Pearl in downtown San Antonio is honoring local women’s past and present civic, commercial and cultural contributions as part of Women’s History Month activities.
Throughout March, Pearl is featuring the work of local artist Martha Martinez-Flores, who partnered with students in the Young Women’s Leadership Academy’s National Art Honor Society to create a background for this year’s three-dimensional “Strong Mujer” mural with colorful panels designed to represent “breaking the glass ceiling.”
Exhibit organizers said the mural celebrates the strength and power of all women in the San Antonio community, according to a news release.
“This year’s mural celebrates the strength and bravery of women at the heart of our San Antonio community who make us who we are: grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, colleagues, teachers, doctors, caregivers and more,” Martinez-Flores said in a statement. “Collaborating with younger generations of students at YWLA and sharing their artistic voice only makes this message more powerful.”
According to officials at Pearl—a growing multiuse development of retail, dining, recreational, professional and residential opportunities along the San Antonio River—the mural also reflects how the area’s evolution has been affected by women, including Emma Koehler—the Hotel Emma’s namesake—who ran the former San Antonio Brewing Co., a predecessor of Pearl Brewery, following her husband’s death in 1914.
Pearl CEO Mesha Millsap said Koehler showed strength and ingenuity through a time that could have destroyed her business.
“Over 100 years later, we are still in awe of her and honor her memory by continuing her legacy of resilience and innovation,” Millsap said in a statement.
Pearl officials said women now make up half of Pearl’s leadership team, and 67% of women in the company hold positions of management. Additionally, the majority of shops and restaurants at Pearl are led, owned and/or founded by women, Pearl officials said.
Leigh Landreth, owner of Pearl boutique LeeLee, said she feels a strong sense of community at Pearl.
“Women want to support other women in business. There’s something about building those connections and working together to build up this environment and support what we have going on here in San Antonio,” Landreth said in a statement.
YWLA art teacher Sharriah Martinez said the Pearl mural is not only aesthetically pleasing, it resonates with community members about San Antonio’s past, present and future.
“We hope that it reminds them of the ‘fuerza’ [or force] that all the women in their lives have displayed for the betterment of their lives, our community and our world,” Martinez said in a statement.