New Mission Sculpture Dedicated as Economic Impact of Missions Grows

The latest work of art to line the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River celebrates an unusual iconic part of San Antonio--the 'cactus roof' of Mission San Jose, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Created by widely exhibited conceptual artist Mel Chin, the towering sculpture, called 'CoCobjos' features two cactus-like pads in a supporting embrace, lininh the shore of the San Antonio River within sight of the mission tower.

"The cactus rof at the Mission is really a metaphor for the tough, tenacious survivors of South Texas,' said Mardi Arce, the Superintendent of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.

Generations ago, somehow a cactus took root on the roof of the 18th Century Mission, and it thrives to this day, through the droughts, burning hot summers, and drenching downpours we have seen in the last century.

"Photos of the cactus roof even appear in early postcards that were sent worldwide from Mission San Jose," Arce said.

The National Park Service reports that visitors to the Missions National Historic Park are up sharply since the 2015 decision to place the Missions on the rolls of World Heritage Sites, the only site in Texas to be recognized.

1,381 million people visited the Missions in 2017, according to the NPS, and they resulted in a $107 million economic impact to the city.

"The San Antonio Missions welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," Arce said.  "We are delighted to share the story of the four Spanish Colonial missions and the cultural and recreational opportunities they provide."

NPS visitors in San Antonio Missions visitors in 2017 spent 32% of that $107 million on lodging, 27% on food and beverages, 12% of gasoline and travel expenses, and 10% on souveniers and other expenses.

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