Have you ever wondered what this surrealistic cave-like structure is doing on the Museum Reach or how it came into existence? No, it isn’t just some unexplainable natural phenomenon, but rather one of San Antonio’s best-kept secrets hidden in plain sight — welcome to The Grotto.
What is it?
- The Grotto is a public art installation + a permanent addition to the Museum Reach commissioned by the San Antonio River Foundation.
- It was created by local faux bois (false wood) concrete artist Carlos Cortés in 2009.
- You can watch the creation of this work — including an action shot of Carlos enjoying a paleta — on YouTube.
What to look out for…
- Father Nature’s Waterfall: Tucked away in a small nook you can find the (easily) most overlooked aspect of this sculpture.
- Stalagmites and stalactites: Don’t forget to look up and around the “cave” to appreciate the masterful and eerily-realistic artificial atmosphere.
- Faces on the walls: Ever heard of a Hidden Mickey? Make a game with your friends by trying to find as many faces as you can (bonus points if you can find the giant jaguar head).
Public art for public use…
- The Grotto is not only an object to watch + take pictures of; it was also created with functionality in mind.
- The three-story sculpture is a natural cooling area for visitors on the lowest level.
- It also features benches, recessed lighting, and a picnic area that anyone is welcome to use.
- Directly across the river on the street level you’ll find a palapa with benches sprouting from wood — carved in concrete, that is — where you can rest before heading on your way.
Make sure to stop by this installation next time you’re around the Pearl District.
Bonus: Just a short walk away along the Museum Reach, you can find F.I.S.H. by Donald Lipski under the I-35 Overpass near Camden Street.