An elaborated equestrian sculpture of “Don Juan de Oñate”, New Spain explorer and settler of in the 16th and 17th Centuries, was installed in the city of El Paso, Texas, in October 2006, as the second of twelve bronze sculptures that attempt to represent the history of the city and of the entire Southwestern region of the United States. This initiative, brought about by the “Fundación XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest”, is trying to revitalize and restart economic development, tourism, and the quality of life in El Paso.
The aforementioned monument, placed outside the entrance to the city's airport, was made by the American artist John Sherrill Houser and references the rich heritage, cultural diversity, and attractiveness of the countryside in El Paso and its surroundings. This countryside opens up into what was the great Spanish southwest, which included Texas and passed through New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and on into California. The monuments purpose is to bring the attention of the public in general, students, educators, visitors, artists and historians.
The statue, which weighs 16 tons is about 11 meters tall, was finished ten years after it was started (8 years of construction and two years of smelting and installation).
The monument has a total cost of two million dollars, of which 40% came from the city and 60% from private interests. Finally the statue was unveiled and dedicated on Saturday, April 10, 2007.
The “Fundación XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest” is proposing, in appreciation to Spain and to the Spanish community, to build a statue, twin to the one that is now in El Paso, in Madrid, the capital of Spain. This statue is to serve as a reminder of brotherhood from both sides of the ocean and as a two-way vehicle in every discipline, from the cultural and historical, to tourism and economic fields.