Art professor makes her mark across the city with large-scale mosaics

Arts and Humanities
August 30, 2022

Sculpting San Antonio

by Brooke Blanton Leith

From the Blue Star Arts Complex to McAllister Park, Houston Street to St. Mary’s University — the public art created by Adjunct Professor Twyla Arthur has infused beauty into spots across San Antonio.

St. Mary's art professor Twyla Arthur poses near her mosaic art piece

“Public art humanizes spaces,” Arthur said. “It can add humor, be functional or just provide a visual element.”

As a sculptor and mosaic artist, Arthur’s public artworks in San Antonio include a 13-foot-wide and 8-foot-high fountain across the street from the Majestic Theatre made with ceramic tile, river rocks and glass.

She also crafted a shade structure at the City of San Antonio’s Northwest Service Center from a 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 and a 350-square-foot mosaic trailhead marker at Eisenhower Park in the theme of a flowing stream. 

Her largest piece to date is a 1,000-square-foot travertine mosaic floor inset in the lobby of the Palmer Events Center in Austin. Arthur’s work can also be found in the San Francisco Bay Area, including several pieces at the University of California, Berkeley.

For Arthur, who joined St. Mary’s in 2015 and teaches Sculpture and 3D Concepts, public art is a unique endeavor requiring a high level of problem-solving.

“Not only do you have to have the idea and figure out how you’re going to make it, but you also need to put it all together with a budget and a schedule,” she said. “You don’t always have 100% control.”

“My other classes are so stressful, so being able to take time and make art is amazing.”

Anabelle Rabago, junior Management major

Another medium Arthur is passionate about is assemblage — a three-dimensional collage made with found objects otherwise overlooked, such as gears and scraps of metal. In one, titled Death in the Afternoon in a nod to the book by Ernest Hemingway, a bull has slain a bullfighter. A church stands behind them, topped with a cross pendant Arthur found while walking her dog.

Close-up of mosaic in sidewalk of Eisenhower Park
Close-up of 350-square-foot mosaic trailhead marker at Eisenhower Park

In another, a bent piece of metal transforms into a dove when placed in the sky.

“What I love about assemblage is giving items a context,” she said. “Suddenly, they become something else.”

Junior Art Education major Kasha Casiano took Arthur’s 3D Concepts in Fall 2021 and appreciated the opportunity to think outside the box and use creative liberty. 

“She has a box of materials like marbles and wood pieces for us to use in our sculptures,” Casiano said. “She even has a dart that she found.”

Anabelle Rabago, a junior Management major, signed up for Arthur’s class solely to fulfill her art credit, but was surprised by how much the class affected her.

“My other classes are so stressful, so being able to take time and make art is amazing,” Rabago said. “She’s bringing the creativity back out of me.”     

View more sculpture photos at

Back to top