The Story Behind The Unique Mural At A San Antonio Starbucks

A mural of bright birds covers 25 feet of a Starbucks in Fargo, North Dakota, and in Mexico City, a textured painting of figures and plants pays homage to Mesoamerican folklore. Both murals were painted by local artists and are a part of Starbucks' efforts to bring art to the public while simultaneously providing artists a platform to showcase their work.

"Art has the power to connect people across cultures and to catalyze social good — and exposure to new artists can be a powerful way to foster that positive change," recognizes Vanity Fair. The murals that Starbucks commissions help build a sense of community and encourage local art scenes in the neighborhoods where the brand's branches are located. Starbucks is known for its local touches, including a piece of history that hangs in the chain's very first store

To liven up a store in San Antonio, Texas, Starbucks approached San Antonio native Alex Rubio, an artist who brings decades of experience painting murals and supporting community causes. "I hope that when people see my work, they're inspired to find their own connections to community and culture," Rubio told the magazine San Antonio.

An artist's commitment to community

Rubio's mural at the San Antonio Starbucks is a bright canvas of patterns and swirls that has become a main feature of the store. Rubio completed the artwork with the help of local students through an effort known as the San Antonio Street Art Initiative. The painting portrays two hands holding coffee cherries, and the lined pattern behind the image is part of his signature art. 

The Starbucks mural isn't the first mural Rubio has painted alongside young artists. His work has been found on the windows of Whataburger and in an installation in Yanaguana Garden, a playground in San Antonio. Rubio began painting murals in housing projects and has established himself as an artist and teacher who supports new and emerging artists in the various studios he has been associated with, guiding high school students through instruction and mentorship. 

"I've always felt it's my responsibility to be able to juggle working as a visual artist and being out in the community, serving students," Rubio told San Antonio. Through his mural at Starbucks, which people enjoy as they sip their favorite drinks, he's once again done just that.