City Mural Caption Rewritten

by Staff Reporter / Aug 09, 2017 / comments
A new caption adorns the mural on the Library at the Lucero Center in Española. The original mural created controversy over claiming Española was the first capital in the United States.Valley Daily Post photo

City Mural Caption Rewritten

Staff Report

In June of this year, the City of Española commissioned a large mural facing south on the outside wall of the city library at the Lucero Center. The colorful mural depicting the river, bosque and mesas of the Española Valley drew many compliments. But the original caption reading “Española First Capital In The USA” also drew many questions about the historical accuracy of that claim.

The mural soon after completion in early June, including the original caption. Valley Daily Post photo

A Letter To The Editor from Miguel Tórrez published in the Valley Daily Post (see original letter HERE) pointed out that the actual first capital, San Gabriel de Yunque, was located on the west side of the Rio Grande, near current day Ohkay Owingeh. Tórrez pointed out that the historical inaccuracy of the mural was also reflected in other local sources, such as the Española Chamber of Commerce website and suggested in his letter that “rather than lay blame, let’s correct the problem”.

Well, it seems that Tórrez and the dozens of other community members who weighed in on the issue were heard. The Española Chamber of Commerce updated their website within a few days of the June 26 Daily Post letter. In addition, by mid-July the City had painted over the caption.

The mural in mid-July after the City covered up the controversial caption. Valley Daily Post photo

When reached for comment about plans to replace the caption, City Manager Mark Trujillo said that the City was reaching out to the original artist and were discussing options. As of late last week, the decisions were made and a new caption has now been painted above the mural.

“Española  – Where Cultures Unite” is the new caption, welcoming visitors who are traveling along Paseo de Onate.

The updated mural as of August 9, 2017. Valley Daily Post photo

When reached for comment after the original caption was painted over but before the new one added, Miguel Tórrez said he was pleased with the positive response by all parties to his original letter. “This is great news” Tórrez said about the City taking action to correct the error.  In his statement Tórrez stressed “rather than lay blame, let’s correct the problem” and the quick response by the City and Chamber of Commerce showed how a respectful public dialog can affect change.