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Laredo artist and sculptor Armando Hinojosa presented the Cotulla City Council with a mock-up of his proposed veterans’ memorial at a meeting last week and offered to create the bronze and granite edifice for $285,000.
The artist is responsible for a number of bronzes currently on public display in Cotulla, including a statue of city founder Joseph Cotulla at Veterans Park downtown, a statue of former teacher Lyndon Johnson in front of the Welhausen School on the east side of town, and figures of local wildlife at City Hall. He sold a set of his paintings depicting South Texas landscapes and cowboy life to the city in 2021; the artwork is currently on display at City Hall.
Hinojosa is the designer and creator of bronzes at Laredo International Airport, Texas A&M International University and a number of public sites across South Texas.
The artist was accompanied by his son, David, in making the pitch to the city council last week after pointing out that Cotulla does not at present have an outdoor memorial to those who served in the US armed forces or those who died for their country.
Hinojosa’s proposed design for a veterans’ memorial includes a bronze of an American eagle with a five-foot wingspan over the figure of a Gold Star Mother holding an American flag while being consoled by an angel.
The artist has also proposed including a bronze recreation of a letter from President Abraham Lincoln to the mother of a soldier who died in the Civil War.
A statue of Florence Maltsberger, the local benefactor who is immortalized in the Plaza Florita and gazebo in front of the Welhausen School, is also being proposed by the artist, who said last week that his price for the commission includes the Maltsberger memorial.
Plaques on either side of the central figures on the memorial would include the names of all those who served their country in war, according to the artist, who showed city councilors how the display would be positioned, adding that more names may be added as needed. Each of the granite blocks bearing the plaques measures four feet in height and eight feet in width.
La Salle County presently has displays of armed forces veterans of foreign conflicts in the ground-floor hallway of the county courthouse, although county officials have been unable to determine whether all those who served from Cotulla, Encinal and other communities have been included.
“This is a deal for the city of Cotulla,” the artist told the council at the meeting Wednesday, March 9. “The price of bronze has gone up. Generally, a life-size figure would cost $150,000. This includes two figures and the eagle, and the plaques.”
The price also includes installation of the memorial at a site of the city’s choosing. Hinojosa suggested the city consider placing the display at Veterans Park.
“This ties in with the parades that you host,” the artist said.
Councilors made no additional comment on the proposal and chose to return to talks on a veterans’ memorial at a future date.