Mural sends spiritual message

By Shannon Sweet


The glistening aluminum mural shines amidst the century-old architecture — like an ode to the past while reminding to look forward to a bright future.

At 10:30 a.m. Oct. 15, the new “Source of Life” mural will light up for the first time when the University of the Incarnate Word dedicates its new Fine Arts Complex.

The 40-by-20-foot mural combines different aspects of UIW, such as light, water, spirituality, and the message of God, said Sister Kathleen Coughlin, vice president for institutional advancement and chair of the five-member committee who chose it.

The mural was created and designed by sculptor Cakky Brawley, an art instructor at Palo Alto College in San Antonio.

“This was our way of giving back to local talent,” said Coughlin, whose committee included Dr. Denise Doyle, immediate past UIW chancellor; Dr. Jack Healy, former dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; artist Robert Sosa, UIW’s director of foundations, corporate and governmental relations; and Michael McChesney, who’s drawn up many UIW projects as the university’s architect.

“We felt that was good (getting local artist Brawley) vs. going outside of San Antonio,” Coughlin said. “We wanted it to be uplifting, reflective, spiritual, and creative, and she got it head-on. She nailed our depiction.”

The mural was made possible by donations from Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts.

“The beauty of this project is our local friends and benefactors, Betty and Bob Kelso,” Coughlin said.

The mural is not the only recent artistic achievement UIW is offering as a part of the project.   Kelso Art Center is also hosting a gallery for religious art, icons, Mexican religious art, and Texas art.

“Some of it will be permanent art that they (the Kelsos) are literally donating to us and the other is art that Betty is allowing us to exhibit,” Coughlin said. “There will be a total of three galleries — the Kelso Art Gallery, the Semmes Gallery for artists who might want a six-week exhibit, an exhibit by the fashion program, or the School of Media and Design. The third is a large student gallery where the students can exhibit their art and also paint in that room.”

The mural is made of aluminum metal with installed LED lights.

“It will have several revolutions during the night to reflect sunrise and sunset,” Coughlin said.

Water is significant to UIW because the campus is located at the headwaters of the San Antonio River and is also fundamental for life. Light is significant because Jesus Christ is considered the Light of the World to His followers and knowledge is enlightenment, she pointed out.

“We value having art so the students are inspired by a reflective piece,” Coughlin said.

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