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After being offered a price cut on a collection of paintings by renowned South Texas artist Armando Hinojosa, Cotulla councilors agreed Thursday, September 9, to buy the set for $44,000 and will have the pieces displayed at City Hall.
The collection had previously been offered for sale to the city for $54,000.
Hinijosa and his son David were present at Thursday’s meeting and indicated they look forward to promoting the art display on behalf of Cotulla.
City Administrator Larry Dovalina and Mayor Javier Garcia said they believe the public display in the restored City Hall, which is one of the downtown area’s historic buildings, will make the site more attractive to visitors.
Paintings will be hung in the City Hall lobby and adjoining conference room, where some of Hinojosa’s bronze sculptures have already been placed.
With more than 50 years’ experience in painting South and West Texas scenes, many of them featuring cowboys, cattle, and the region’s recognizable landscapes, Hinojosa has been recognized for his skills with commissions at several popular sites across the state. He was named Texas state artist in 1982. His bronzes number in the dozens and include dolphins at Corpus Christi, the Vaquero sculpture collection in front of Laredo International Airport, a longhorn bronze outside United High School in Laredo, the charging javelina bronzes at Texas A&M University, and a commission for the Boy Scouts of America.
Hinojosa is also responsible for the bronzes of city founder Joseph Cotulla at Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla and former teacher and 36th US President Lyndon Johnson in front of the Welhausen School on the east side of town.
This month’s purchase of the private collection by the city of Cotulla will mark the first time that oil paintings by the artist have gone on permanent display in the community.
“The art is very detailed,” Mayor Garcia said Thursday. Councilors held their meeting in the AB Alexander Convention Center conference room, where several paintings had been placed on temporary display. “The artist is very precise. These are beautiful paintings.”
“We have told people where the art is located,” David Hinojosa said of his father’s collection. “Visitors can come and see his paintings.”
The collection sold to the city of Cotulla comprises a dozen framed oil paintings of various sizes. Dovalina said he expects the city to display the entire collection under added security measures as soon as possible.
Funds for the purchase were made from the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) account, which earns its revenues from a state-approved surcharge on all hotel and motel room bookings in the city.
The HOT fund at Cotulla City Hall can only be used for projects that help further tourism and thereby boost the local economy. Previous projects have included support of festivals, installation of downtown fixtures and beautification, and the historic preservation of the city’s historic buildings.
According to the city administrator this week, the art collection that will soon go on display at City Hall is expected to generate visitor interest.
“We are allowed to use the hotel tax revenues for projects like this,” Dovalina said, “as this is part of the city’s ongoing effort to encourage tourism and to draw attention to our historic downtown district.”