HISTORY OF THE SUELTENFUSS LIBRARY
“La Historia Chicana” mural
Jesse Trevino made his mark in the art world as the first Mexican American to exhibit at the Smithsonian but long before the rest of the world grew to love his work, Our Lady of the Lake University had great appreciation for his masterful art. Originally he was from Mexico and he moved to San Antonio when he was young. He served this country in the Vietnam War and tragically lost his right hand during battle. Though for some this loss may have ended their hopes and dreams of becoming a famous artist, Jesse didn’t let his physical disabilities deter him.
After a recuperative period, Jesse came to Our Lady of the Lake University to explore his options as an artist and complete his bachelor’s degree in art. Jesse has attributed his learning to paint with his left hand to Sisters Tharsilla Fuchs and Ethel Marie Corne. During his studies here, he completed the 100 foot mural “La Historia Chicana”. It was the first of his grand works with his left hand, painted on the walls of the popular student union (now the bookstore.) Jesse’s pride of the West Side, San Antonio, and Our Lady of the Lake University is evident in the composition that depicts Mexican-American history, flowing seamlessly from one generation to the next.
As Jesse’s fame grew and his status as an international artist elevated, so too did the prominence of his mural here at the university. In 1981, it was relocated from the student union to the St. Florence Library reading room. During the design phase of the Sueltenfuss Library in the 90’s, architectural detail was intentionally made for the purpose of exhibiting this mural in the best possible light.
Today “La Historia Chicana” has a prominent place on the second floor of the Sueltenfuss Library where it is available for all to enjoy. Likewise, Jesse Trevino has a special place in the heart of Our Lady of the Lake University and was awarded an honorary doctorate for his lifetime artistic achievements. Both original and reproductions of his work may be found throughout campus buildings.