The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Casa sin nombre

The hard to miss fuchsia building, La Casa Rosa, is the art studio and home to San Antonio artist Luis Lopez. He bought and redesigned the building to grab the attention of the public passing by. “I wanted to show my love for art and my personality through my home,” Lopez said on Sept. 18 at 527 E. Dewey Place. Photo by Ashleigh Gow

By Nicole West

A new name for the Texas A&M University-San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center will be announced sometime this semester.

Marilu Reyna, associate vice president for institutional advancement and university communications, said the university has made a commitment to bring in about four or five well known people in advertising, marketing and art communities to brainstorm on creating a new name.

“How we announce the name we haven’t determined that,” Reyna said. “We don’t expect to have another big reveal. We would probably do a press release.”

The center’s former name, Casa Rosa, lasted about a month before being removed.

The university’s occupation of the downtown cultural center, the former Museo Alameda, which was the first formal affiliate of the Smithsonian, began last fall after the lease with the city was unanimously approved by San Antonio city council.

In a collaborative agreement, the city is contributing $450,000 in funding for the next three years.

According to a May press release, the university’s cultural programming for the center is intended to tell the story of the transnational experience of Latinos in America, and will feature local and regional artists.

The former name and logo, Casa Rosa, reflecting the hot pink color of the building, was unveiled May 10.

After the celebration, conflict over the name Casa Rosa arose when one of the attendees, local artist Luis Lopez, claimed trademark issues.

A lawyer representing Lopez filed a cease and desist letter against the Texas A&M University System citing infringement of Lopez’s trademark, “La Casa Rosa.” The letter demands that the university remove the new name from the center arguing it would cause confusion with his art studio located in Tobin Hills just north of downtown San Antonio.

The notice and demand was received May 30, 2013 by the Office of General Counsel for the A&M System.

Applicant Luis Lopez filed the trademark “La Casa Rosa” just 10 days earlier on May 20 according to a records search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The attorney of record on file is Wayne Colton, the same attorney representing Lopez against the A&M System.

Even though Lopez didn’t file for trademark until after he discovered the similarity in name, his lawyer argued in a letter:

“The university should have known that this usage would violate the longstanding and well-established trademark rights of Mr. Lopez, who is very well-known in the San Antonio arts community.”

Lopez was one of many local leaders depicted in a 33-foot mural, commissioned from San Antonio artist Armando Sanchez. The mural, unveiled May 10, depicts activist leader Rosie Castro embraced by her twin sons, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, and other local and regional leaders celebrating the university’s acquisition of a downtown campus and cultural arts center.

It currently resides in Pico de Gallo, a restaurant located at San Antonio’s historic Market Square.

Artist’s perspective

When driving down East Dewey Place, it’s hard to miss Lopez’s studio, located inside a bronze geometric fence he built himself. Sculptures are visible throughout his garden.

Lopez’s studio, which is also fuchsia, was created 10 years ago to make a living for himself, he said during a recent interview.

As Lopez sat comfortably on his sofa, he talked methodically about the impact and actions he’s taking to resolve the situation.

“I created the image because that’s how I was going to present myself; it’s been very successful.”

Lopez said a website was created in 2003 where customers can purchase his art work. The design of his website depicts the front of his fuchsia house.

“My name was on top of the charts, all you needed to do was just Google it, and nobody did that,” Lopez said. “After we sent them the letter, they agreed they had crossed a line and they were going to make things good for me.”

Reyna said complying with the cease and desist letter just means to stop using ‘Casa Rosa’ as the name.

“Which we’ve done,” she said.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center. Photo by Shawna Mount

University moves ahead

In a letter provided by Lopez, from attorney Wayne Colton addressed to the A&M System attorney Katherine Knight Aug. 22 in a response to the infringement claim, the university offered various solutions which Lopez denied.

First, the university offered Lopez to display an art piece “periodically” or permanently at the center.

Second, A&M-San Antonio suggested to change the name to “La Museo Rosa/Casa de Arte Y Educación” but Lopez said it will still cause confusion.

Reyna said they have complied with the cease and desist letter and will not call the center Casa Rosa. “Maybe another kind of casa, might be another kind of rosa,” she said.

The new name will not be an infringement.  “Personally he might think it is but legally it’s not,” Reyna said, meaning that the university is able to use one term or the other, but not both “Casa” and “Rosa” combined.

“A term like Casa is very generic…so that may be a term that stays in the name, I’m not sure,” she said.

The university’s goal is to avoid going through this issue again, Reyna said. “So we are going to check everything once, and twice and three times.”

Reyna said it’s important that the name reflects what story the university is telling people when they walk through the doors.

We want to make sure we message those who come together to brainstorm on the new name and that we are going to turn the page from Casa Rosa, she said.

Lopez said he is also working on a resolution that includes compensation for legal fees and damage to his self-esteem over the matter.

About the Author

Nicole West
Nicole West is The Mesquite’s Cultura Editor. Nicole is a communications major with a minor in business. She attended San Antonio College Fall 2012, where she served as a reporter of The Ranger. She is a 2013 participant of the Emmy-award winning Proyecto U broadcast collaborative advised by Communications faculty and KWEX 41/Univision San Antonio, and a 2010 Holmes High School graduate where she was head photographer of her high school yearbook. She recently completed an internship with Gemini Ink, a literary arts center located in San Antonio and is currently interning with San Antonio Magazine. In September 2013, Nicole was selected as an outstanding prospective student for the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism's Rodgers Fellowship.

Join the Conversation

© 2024 Jaguar Student Media | Texas A&M University-San Antonio. All Rights Reserved. All Rights Reserved.
San Antonio Website Design & Development - Backyard Studios
Join Our Newsletter

Get the Mesquite News delivered straight to you.