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Photograph Courtesy of Chuy Benitez, www.chuybenitez.com
Comments from the Petition Page
Saturday, July 25, 2011
Sign the Petition at: Mayor, City of El Paso: Keep "Los Lagartos" in the Plazita de los Lagartos! (El Paso, Texas) http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-city-of-el-paso-keep-los-lagartos-in-the-plazita-de-loslagartos-el-paso-texas
Oscar Baeza, El Paso Please keep "Los Lagartos" alligators sculpture at San Jacinto Plaza. Luis Jimenez was a great Chicano artist that left this sculpture for us to enjoy, respect and appreciate. Lillian Lewis, San Angelo, TX Taking "Los Lagartos" out of the plaza would remove some of El Paso's history and character. I am saddened at the thought that developers would ever be allowed to lobotomize a city in this way! Dawn Stienecker, Nacogdoches, TX I have detoured specifically to see this piece. While I would do it again and understand the nature of cities and change, I echo the sentiment of the voices that the piece should remain as envisioned by the artist (clearly articulated here by those who knew him best.) Elizabeth Moody, Houston, TX It is difficult to think of El Paso without Plazita de los Lagartos or without Jimenez's Los Lagartos. The loss of this sculpture and the plaza would be a travesty for the city, it's citizens, and the memory of Luis Jimenez - Why would a city want to lose such an important part of its heritage! The city redeveloped this site many years ago for a parking lot - realized the loss and made it a plaza with a marvelous Jimenez sculpture as center for all of its citizens to enjoy. Please keep the sculpture and plaza! 1
Celia Muñoz, Arlington, TX I vote to honor the artist's intention and the work. Luis was commissioned to create a sculpture for "la Placita de Los Lagartos" and he, pointedly and metaphorically, made a most appropriate piece. Julia Martínez, Crystal City, TX I have not the pleasure of viewing this piece of art, nonetheless, it is sad and wrong to remove or destroy this piece of art respresenting the culture and history of El Paso. Living in a historic city of Crystal City, I support to maintain the importance of saving history for our youth. Please have the developer support this history by providing an option for this piece of art and move with the growth and development of the city. Alain Geoffroy, Paris, France When I had the pleasure and honour to meet Luis in his home and workshop, years ago, apart from the warmth of his welcoming me, I discovered a major artist from the frontera, a concerned and visionary creator, well rooted in the time and space he was in. Thanks a lot for not killing him a second time by removing this important landmark of downtown El Paso. I wish we could enjoy an exhibition of some of his works (except from "Los Lagartos" of course!) in Paris, France. Benito Huerta, Arlington, TX I remember when Jimenez' "Los Lagartos" was dedicated (though I was not present) Luis was very proud to have this piece in downtown El Paso. As curator of his retrospective "Working Class Heroes" Luis had a strong attachment to the extra-ordinary people in the streets and he wanted his work to be placed within that setting. Moving this iconic work would not only bring disservice to his memory and work but is a traitorous sign that government cannot keep its word when erecting public art. Robin Scofield, El Paso, TX Please do not remove public art by one of our greatest sculptors! Joann Puskarcik, Starlight, PA As a visitor to El Paso, I was truly impressed by the Alligator statue. Years ago I had seen one of Jimenez's sculptures in one of NYC's major art museums and thought it was the best piece in the collection. So when I went to El Paso, of course, I had to see Los Lagartos. Roberto Tejada, Dallas, TX Luis Jimenez' "Los Lagartos" (Alligators) sculpture in the Plazita de los Lagartos (San Jacinto Plaza) in El Paso, Texas, is a significant example of contemporary art. As well, it forms part of the city's public culture, and serves as a placeholder for the day-to-day uses of the imagination in civic space.
Pam Hahn, Grants Pass, OR I travel to former home of El Paso often ... Luis Jimenez' Los Lagartos sculpture is one site that I always visit when I'm there. Please keep this symbol of our shared history for future generations to enjoy. Thank you. Gus Kopriva, Houston, TX The city has to resolve this issue themselves. Many other US cities would be honored to show case this very important piece of wonder. Please keep those who do not reside in El Paso appraised of the status and what can others do to help. A.A. Sanchez, Canutillo, TX It seems that certain people who have initiated the removal of Luis' masterpiece in order to make room for progress should revamp their plan. An elderly man I met in Guadalajara a few years back describes this type of group perfectly. He said: "No hay peor dano en esta vida, que un pendejo con iniciativa." I've taken many of my art students and children to the plaza to admire the works of a legendary Chicano artist. These students appreciate the significance of meaningful works of art such as "Los lagartos." It's not broken, so don't fix it. Don't move "Los lagartos, eliminate los pendejos from power. Claudia Flores, Falmouth, MA As a native El Pasoan, trying to represent my hometown in New England, I am horrified at the lack of respect for art and history in El Paso. Nothing like this would ever happen in New England. What ever happen to El Paso pride, in who we are? Leave "Los Lagartos" in the plaza, PLEASE!!! How else can we make the rich history of El Paso significant to the rest of the U.S. if we don't take the initiative to protect our landmarks? Alison Greene, Houston, TX As a scholar of Texas art and a curator at this state's largest art museum, I have long admired the Jimenez "Los Lagartos" -- it is a great example of civic art and an El Paso landmark. While I recognize that cities grow and change, I urge the City of El Paso to find a way to keep this important monument a part of its urban fabric. Brenda Coto, Houston, TX This artwork is a cultural icon and the City of El Paso should be proud to repair and display it in the public square. There is nowhere else in the world where it can be seen and enjoyed. That alone should be cause for abundant pride and a reason to do whatever it takes to keep it where it is. Where it belongs for all time! Trudy Gerlach, Wyalusing, PA This is a beautiful and meaningful sculpture, personal for El Paso in so, so many ways. San Jacinto Plaza would be empty without it. Please keep it!
Bruce Berman, El Paso, TX This is one of El Paso's greatest assets and visitor destinations and honors one of El Paso's most important "native sons." The piece needs repair. The discussion must begin with that premise. Luis' pieces are in many locations throughout the world and when they need repair the solution is not to relocate the piece, but rather, to renovate, preserve and improve it (it's site, if need be). This can be a "win-win," for everyone who loves El Paso and we can do it. Curtis Castle, North Hollywood, CA We should build on our past, not tear it down. Sandra sage/Gorney, Spencer, NY Still have fond childhood memories of the Placita de lagartos! After many years of living in New York I continue to have vivid dreams of the real deal. Good luck fellow El Pasoans stand for what is right and never allow anyone to destroy a heartfelt legacy and artistic cultural ICON! Karen S. Harper, Long Beach, CA Redevelopment is very dangerous when cultural icons and community gathering places are destroyed. This is not progress. Revamp this plan. Arturo Madrid, San Antonio, TX If El Paso persists in eliminating people, art, and cultural expression from its public and collective spaces, what will be left other than empty private and corporate shells of no historical consequence, artistic value, or cultural significance whatever. Why would anyone want to visit a mini-version of Houston? Pamela Novoa, El Paso, TX Revitalize: Yes! Ruin: No!!!!! I cannot be encouraged to pride and love a tierra I no longer recognize. It will no longer be the "heart of the city" once the heart is removed. UMC will always be Thomason, as will La Placita de Los Lagartos. Dejan en paz Los Lagartos. Why weren't any LOCAL design groups considered? Improvement begins within, not in California. El Centro de Paul Foster?!?! Reconsider this small piece of the revitalization. We are open to change and are thankful. Now let us support you further by allowing us to hold onto at least some remnants of our roots. Carmen Rodríguez, El Paso, TX Please protect the sculpture from further deterioration, but keep it highly visible in the 'placita de los lagartos' where it belongs forever. -- surely this is not asking too much. Debra Ramírez, Sunland Park, NM It should stay were it is. This is a symbol to the City of El Paso and a joy seen it there. I remember this being a par of the Plaza since a long time, when I used to live at El Paso...I just recently moved to Sunland which is a few min. away and still consider myself being part of El Paso. 4
Jennifer Alvarez Dickinson, Austin, TX Luis Jimenez' "Los Largartos" sculpture is important because as a piece of contemporary Chicano art it speaks to the ongoing vitality of Mexican American cultural production. But it also provides a link to a unique historical period of El Paso's plaza. As a child growing up in El Paso, the stories of live alligators in the plaza made it a truly special place. Gabriela Baeza, Houston, TX La plaza de los lagartos is a Mexican and Mexican-American cultural and historical site that should be respected and maintained in El Paso, Texas. The plaza has been immortalized in immigrant literature such as Daniel Venegas, Las aventuras de don Chipote; o cuando los pericos mamen (Arte Publico Press, 2004) and the highly respected art of Luis Jimenez. Shame on the El Paso administration for considering the renaming and removal of this important site! Dr. Guillermina Gina Nuñez, El Paso, TX Los Lagartos are an El Paso icon. They represent the history of the city and the wonderful art one of the most famous Chicano artists in the U.S. Please be respectful of this rich cultural heritage we have. Art pieces such as the Los Lagartos, should be kept accessible and visible to the public. Do what you need to add a protective layer or a kiosk to protect the art- but keep it accessible. Art should be consumed by the people of the city and border region, and not be an exclusive pleasure of the few. Dr. Nunez Jesus Saucedo, El Paso, TX QUE VIVA LOS GATORSS!!! Zita Arocha, El Paso, TX It's part of what makes us unique as a city. Marco Portales, Bryan, TX Yes, I agree. Do keep the "Los Lagartos" sculpture in the Plazita. You don't want to have to change its name, right? Best, Marco Portales David Arredondo, El Paso, TX What a significant sculpture. The idea of re-development is great but please do not disturb "Los Lagartos" (Plaza of the Alligators). Re-develop around it, not over it. If anything carefully restore and maintain this amazing sculpture, do not erase it. The future of El Paso will appreciate it. Carlos Rodríguez, El Paso, TX El Paso must and will be stopped from erasing the chronicles of history already written and start capitalizing on it's rich attributes. Period.
Hector H. Galicia, El Paso, TX Luis' legacy must remain in El Paso. The only place "Los Largartos" has the meaning is the "plazita de los Lagartos." It is not only his art and his contribution, but the history of El Paso that is embodied in the piece in that park that has value for our community. Carmen Tavarez, El Paso, TX This sculpture has great sentimental value for El Pasoans and needs to be preserved at San Jacinto Plaza. How could this plaza have meaning without it? Sergio Troncoso, New York, NY Keep "Los Lagartos" in the San Jacinto Plaza. How could this plaza have meaning without it? Johnny Hernández, Modesto, CA This say's it best, "This shows where City Hall has their heads; denigrate a Chicano artist like Jimenez, but promote the Don Juan de Onate monstrosity at the entrance to the El Paso airport." ~ Carlos Morton C.J. Shane, Tucson, AZ Please keep this important artwork in the site for which it was intended. Judy Baca, Los Angeles, CA Luis Jimenez's work is a national treasure and El Paso is the recipient of it. UPDATING? This Plaza is an important site of public memory and Luis' work is part of that memory. Have the wisdom to respect the power of public artworks PERMANENCE in a public site. Would you consider updating the Lincoln Memorial? Rebecca Baeza, El Paso, TX Born and Raised in El Paso. Our memories should never be taken away we need to share those memories with our children and their children. Carlos Morton, Santa Barbara, CA This shows where City Hall has their heads; denigrate a Chicano artist like Jimenez, but promote the Don Juan de Onate monstrosity at the entrance to the El Paso airport. Juan A. Contreras, El Paso, TX Little by little legacies of culture, hope, and love of life are being dissected from us - it is as removing the breath of being from humanity - la plazita de los lagartos historically has been iconic to all gentes of El Chuco. Stop denying us the existence of once upon a time, and building blocks of local identity which some adamantly seem want to erase. It is a monument in time that should be treasured. Jimenez is a giant in the world of sculpture, yet he is being minimized. Other more progressive cities i.e. San Anto, Austin, etc would embrace the love. 6
Oscar Martínez, El Paso, TX This sculpture has great sentimental value for El Pasoans and needs to be preserved at San Jacinto Plaza. It would be a slap in the face to so many of us who remember "los lagartos" when we were growing up. The sculpture is a great piece of art. Keep it where it is! Joseph Martínez, El Paso, TX I could not believe that there were "live" Alligators in the Plaza at one time, when my wife took me to downtown El Paso for some sight seeing. It has always been on our list of things to do as relatives have visited in th past. It would be a slap in the face to the Chicanos and Chicanas that live in the southwest, not to mention the insult to the Luis Jimenez legacy. Mayor Cook, City Manager Wilson, and other members of the Council should realize that we will not stand for this any longer. "Ya Basta"
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