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Yoli Cantú, the Artist Behind the Breathtaking Stained Glass Art at DHR Health Lobby

Unveiling the Story Behind "Gift of Life"

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The “Gift of Life” mural, an artwork by Yoli Cantú, was revealed alongside Eliu González, Olga Lorena González, and Yolanda Peralez. Image by Roberto Hugo González.
The “Gift of Life” mural, an artwork by Yoli Cantú, was revealed alongside Eliu González, Olga Lorena González, and Yolanda Peralez. Image by Roberto Hugo González.
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By Roberto Hugo González

An In-depth Exploration with Yoli Cantu at DHR Health’s main lobby, the “Gift of Life” mural is a tribute to the beauty and complexity of life, organ donation, and our connection. Yoli, the mastermind behind this exquisite stained-glass mural, takes us on a journey through its creation process, shedding light on the inspirations and challenges encountered along the way.

Yoli Cantú, Artist

When asked about the inception of the mural’s title, Yoli reveals, “The mural is titled ‘Gift of Life,’ a reflection of the profound act of giving that organ donors signify. It symbolizes the value of life passed on from donors to recipients, a true cycle of life and hope that continues to inspire.”

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Yoli explains the collaboration nature of her work by examining the creative process. “The creation of ‘Gift of Life’ was a dialogue between the heart and the mind, informed by conversations with DHR Health staff, physicians, and the families touched by organ donation. Their stories, their losses, and their hopes were my guide,” she says.

She highlights incorporating specific symbols within the mural that resonate deeply with many. “The cardinal appears as a messenger, signifying the presence of angels and loved ones passed. Beyond its symbolism for renewal, the frog carries a deeper message of faith with ‘Forever Rely on God.’ The dove and the monarch butterfly, representing peace, hope, and renewal, are chosen for their profound meanings and relevance to the local environment.”

Yoli Cantu, surrounded by Eliu González, Olga Lorena González, and Yolanda Peralez, poses proudly in front of the stunning “Gift of Life” mural at DHR Health lobby. This exquisite piece of stained-glass art, a tribute to the beauty of life and the noble act of organ donation, showcases Yoli’s incredible talent and dedication. Behind them, the mural’s vibrant colors and intricate designs reflect Cantu’s vision of hope, renewal, and the profound connection between donors and recipients, signifying the spirit of giving at the heart of organ donation. Image by Roberto Hugo González.

Creating “Gift of Life” was no small feat. “Designing the mural was a journey of learning and discovery. I needed to include native flora, which required extensive research. With the help of my talented assistants, Gloria Reyes and Mariana Prado, we brought these elements to life, adding depth with three-dimensional pieces,” Yoli recounts.

Reflecting on the time and effort invested, she shares, “From the initial designs in August 2024 to the moment we started cutting glass in late September, the project spanned about six months. Our team dedicated over 300 hours meticulously crafting over 8,000 pieces of hand-cut glass. It was a labor of love, a dedication to the message we hoped to convey.”

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Yoli’s “Gift of Life” is more than a mural; it is hope and a celebration of life’s perpetual cycle through organ donation. Through her art, Yoli invites viewers to reflect on the impact of giving, the beauty of nature, and the connection of our lives. “Gift of Life” is a profound tribute to those who have given the ultimate gift, encouraging others to consider the legacy they can leave behind. This remarkable art will continue to inspire and educate visitors at DHR Health, fostering a community of hope, renewal, and life-saving generosity.

The initiative to install the stained-glass artwork and the donor recognition kiosk stems from a profound desire to honor the kindness of giving essential in organ donation. 

In an awe-inspiring dedication to National Donor Day on February 14, 2024, DHR Health took a significant step forward by unveiling a mesmerizing stained-glass installation titled “Gift of Life” in the hospital’s main lobby. This remarkable piece of art, created by the talented Yoli Cantú, is more than just a visual spectacle; it emanates gratitude and recognition for organ donors and their invaluable contributions. Along with this stunning artwork, DHR Health has also introduced a donor recognition kiosk, which beautifully narrates the stories of living and deceased organ donors, their journeys, and their life-changing impacts.

National Donor Day, observed annually on February 14th, is set aside to honor organ donors’ selflessness and highlight organ donation’s critical importance. The unveiling ceremony at DHR Health brought together a diverse group, including health representatives, the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, organ donor recipients, and donors. The gathering’s aim was precise: to celebrate the gift of life facilitated by organ donation and to encourage more individuals to become a part of this noble cause. 

Yoli Cantú owns McAllen-Stained Glass and has been in this business for four decades.

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