Walking the beach on SPI can now lead you to an octopus, the American flag, and the tower of the rising sun all in one walk. Gorgeous lifeguard stands have sprung up out of nowhere. Organized by Jim Pigg, several local artist wanted to make an impact and pulled together to create one of a kind lifeguard chairs. Packed with visitors taking pictures, you’ll want to check this out the next time you’re on the island. “If I created a movement of artists, we could open Pandora’s box” stated Christina Salazar. Salazar is one of the local artists who gathered up a group of seven from McAllen down to the island.
Using paint supplied by Beach Rescue, these seven artists worked from sun up until dark, battling extreme heat and some uninvited wildlife to boot. Taking an entire week to complete, this project took a tremendous amount of time and sacrifice.
This was an incredible gift given to the community by several local artist; Christina Salazar and Terra Volz are from Laguna Vista, Sara Uribe is from Harlingen, Isaac Guerra, Jose Perez, Bruni Fox, and Sandra Urie are from McAllen, and Tiffany Anderson is from South Padre. While Ismael Salinas, Jr. is from Weslaco. Artist Sandra Urie, is for the most part a self-taught artist and a native of Argentina, now residing in McAllen.
Her style is quite diverse. Urie paints anywhere from abstract to photo-realism, and specializes in oils.
On this project, Urie worked in the heat, got sunburned, bitten by ants, and dealt with a smorgasbord of pungent aromas while working next to a trash dump. Needless to say, she was elated and honored to be invited to participate in such a worthwhile project and selflessly donate her time and talent to put smiles on beachgoers faces. “I worked on the Tower of the Rising Sun.” My inspiration mainly comes from nature, and in this case came from a heavy downpour the night prior to the commencement of this project.
After the rain, always comes the sun. Thus, the composition consists of water droplets, Koi fish for life and balance, and of course the rising sun. My friend and fellow artist Ismael Salinas, Jr. collaborated with me on this stand by incorporating Japanese style waves in keeping with the theme.” Stated Urie on her lifeguard stand.
Not wanting the chairs to be completed by just one artist, Christina “Wanted it to be diverse within the art. More artists make for a more dramatic impact” Starting at the Hilton and ending by Schlitterbahn, you will see an array of colors and imagination.
Not only are the chairs fun to take a picture with, they can also serve a huge purpose in the name of safety. With so many families gathering at the beach now. You can easily tell your kids that if you were to get separated from them to meet you at the octopus. Much better than a row of chairs that all look identical.
The Freedom Tower was created to give recognition. Completed before Memorial Day weekend Salazar and artist Tiffany Anderson wanted to give recognition to the military. They also wanted to pay respect to a dear friend of theirs who passed away serving the country.
Planning to re-paint the chairs annually, Salazar hopes it will be something the community will come out and observe. Next time you’re on the beach, stop and take a picture with your favorite chair.