Artists Selected for Plaza Roberto Maestas-Beloved Community

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Click here to view a PDF of the Press Release:
Artists Selected for Plaza Roberto Maestas_2014


For Immediate Release:
August 12, 2014

Press Contact: Yunuen Castorena
(206) 957-4605

SEATTLE – El Centro de la Raza has selected a national and international team of artists strongly rooted in the Latino culture to integrate place-based and culturally-specific art throughout the Plaza Roberto Maestas project, a 112-unit mixed-use equitable transit-oriented development in Beacon Hill, Seattle with an anticipated construction start date of early 2015. The Tucson-based team of Alex Garza and Gonzalo Espinosa have been selected as the lead artists for development of art on the exterior and interiors of the buildings and Casto Solano, a Basque sculptor based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, will create the plaza’s memorial sculpture to the legacy of El Centro’s founder, Roberto Maestas.

All of the artists selected for the project demonstrated a commitment to the celebration of the Latino culture and history through significant and culturally relevant artworks of substantive quality and beauty.

“El Centro de la Raza is proud to be working with such incredibly creative teams that will capture the spirit and essence of our history and culture through their artwork and continue the tradition of public art in the Beacon Hill Neighborhood.” Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza.

Alex Garza and Gonzalo Espinoza are a team of artists based in Tucson, Arizona. Both artists have a long history of depicting social movements and culture through various art mediums, and are personally ingrained in the themes of their work.  Mr. Garza is the son of migrant workers from Texas and Mr. Espinosa is a native of Mexico, trained at the University of Guadalajara in the Mexican muralist tradition. They are known for their very large-scale mosaics and incorporate both tile and bas relief into their work.

Casto Solano is a renowned Basque artist with a history of creating incredibly life-like bronze figures as part of a larger place-based sculptural work in projects featured around the world, including projects currently underway in Vancouver, British Columbia and Jeju, South Korea. Mr. Solano will create a major sculptural work celebrating the life and legacy of Roberto Maestas to be incorporated into the design of the Plaza.

The artists were selected through a public Call to Artists with a selection team that included El Centro staff, Beacon Hill resident artists, the nationally renowned public artist Norie Sato, and the architectural team. They will develop artwork which will be incorporated throughout Plaza Roberto Maestas. The art will integrate cultural expression celebrating El Centro de la Raza’s unique history, the life and accomplishments of Roberto Maestas and the Four Amigos, El Centro de la Raza’s commitment to service and solidarity with people of color and historically disadvantaged communities and the cultural diversity of the surrounding Beacon Hill Neighborhood.

The artists will develop artwork in close collaboration with the community and the project’s Design Architect, Daniel Glenn, Principal of 7 Directions Architects/Planners.

Mr. Glenn specializes in culturally-specific architecture and often integrates public art directly into his work.  The building is designed to provide multiple locations for artwork, now and in the future, including full-height insets on each expressed column surrounding the base of the two buildings, walls reserved for large-scale exterior mosaics, tile and stained concrete patterning, and interior wall murals.  “We are very excited to work with this renowned team of Latino artists on this project.  Already we are seeing how their artwork can dramatically enhance the architecture of Plaza Roberto Maestas and make it a truly unique, culturally-significant place in Seattle.”

Plaza Roberto Maestas is a community-inspired, transit-oriented development on Beacon Hill that will provide opportunities for working low-income individuals and families to live in a vibrant Seattle neighborhood directly adjacent to a Light Rail Station. Some of the benefits and opportunities that the Plaza project will provide include:

  • 112 units of one-, two-, and three-bedroom affordable rental housing for working individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of area median income,
  • A 10,000 square foot, 7-classroom permanent expansion of our award-winning José Martí Child Development Center serving diverse income families,
  • 3,200 square feet of flexible street-level retail and restaurant space and micro-business development spaces,
  • A 6,000 square foot multicultural community center, 4,500 square feet of office space, and a 12,900 square foot public plaza.

Plaza Roberto Maestas represents the realization of the hopes and dreams of the diverse group of ordinary people who founded El Centro de la Raza over 41 years ago. The Plaza project was also conceived of in partnership with the surrounding North Beacon Hill Community through the neighborhood planning process, having undergone over five years of community process related to zoning, planning, and design. This project will be a physical manifestation of the work of the organization in building Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community”. Throughout the years, tens of thousands of volunteers and friends have helped ECDLR grow to an organization that in 2012 served over 18,500 children, families and individuals through the hard work of 91 dedicated employees and a budget of almost $6 million annually.

Partners on this project include our development consultant, Beacon Development Group, our design team led by SMR Architects, Collins Group and our General Contractor, Walsh Construction. Funders for the project include the State of Washington, the City of Seattle Office of Housing, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Impact Capital, and Enterprise Community Partners. The public art will be funded through a combination of public and private grants as part of the project’s Capital Campaign.

Estela Ortega is available for interviews by calling (206) 957-4605 or emailing For more information, please visit