The solar panel was unveiled last November at San Antonio’s Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival
Anything an artist can do in paint, they can now do in solar! With this moto, the Seattle-based Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) and their Solar Mural artwork program aim to revolutionize the image we have for photovoltaics, while making communities more vibrant and providing new opportunities for artists. The unveiling of their first project, named La Monarca, took place last November at Luminaria, San Antonio’s Contemporary Arts Festival. Designed by San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz with creative direction from artist Penelope Boyer, the world’s first solar mural depicts a Monarch Butterfly on a giant lotería card. "I think we have an opportunity now in the 21st century to leave a cultural mark and a legacy for this important time in history as we make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy infrastructure,” said Land Art Generator Founding Co-Director Robert Ferry, adding that “People will look back 100 years from now and see these great artworks that are still working and powering their cities and reflect on that."
La Monarca was inspired by San Antonio’s status as the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City, while it is at the same time emblematic of the full range of issues the Monarch Butterfly has come to represent: species extinction due to global warming and climate change; immigrant, exile, and refugee rights; and now, renewable energy and regenerative design.
The solar mural was created through advanced PV Film technology, provided by Sistine Solar, that lets light easily pass through the printed film that adheres to the panels. It is actually comprised of four panels stacked 2×2 at a vertical angle, measuring 6’6” wide by 11′ tall; each panel stands at 66” x 40”. There's also a 24 in the upper left. "The 24 indicates the 24 actions that our city has agreed to take on to become the first monarch butterfly champion city as designated by the National Wildlife Federation," said the artist. According to spokesperson Kelly Morris, La Monarca cost around $5000-$6000 and has now been moved to its permanent home inside a pollinator garden on the EPICenter campus in San Antonio where it will be used to directly provide solar energy to the building.
La Monarca has been a collaboration between Land Heritage Institute (LHI)’s LHI Art-Sci Projects, EPIcenter, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). Fabrication and technical support has been provided by OCI Solar Power, Mission Solar Energy, Sun Action Trackers, and Sistine Solar. The project has been made possible through support from the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Images by Land Art Generator Initiative