The pavers on Houston Street downtown radiated kaleidoscopic colors today as Artpace sponsored its 12th annual Chalk It Up event.
Yes, there are invited professional artists and school groups, but this elongated public art project is participatory. People of all ages enthusiastically accepted the invitation to pick up chalk and make their marks.
Families flocked to the admission-free event.
Houston Street never looked better. The only drawback is the result is so temporal….
The American translation I grew up with is hardly picturesque – brightly colored plastic triangles strung along roadways, noisily flapping in the breeze in vain attempts to motivate you to “stop here for gas” or “trade in your car today.” But, as with many humble or utilitarian objects in Mexico, banners were elevated to a form of art and signified celebrations important to the community. Papel picado, or punched paper, artists use hammer and chisel to punch designs out of stacks of up to 40 layers of tissue at a time.
The legendary printmaker and satirical cartoonist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) created his oft-reproduced “La Calavera Catrina” to satirize the lifestyle of the upper class in Mexico in the late 1800s. In one of the works on exhibit at the Steves’ Visitors Center, Kathleen crafts a skeletal “self-portrait” as a dancing partner of La Catrina.
“Portraits” of architectural landmarks featured in the exhibit include the Bexar County Courthouse, the Japanese Tea Garden, the silos at Blue Star and the Pig Stand. The one must suitable for the cause of preservation follows the satirical style of Posada: “Demolition: 1123 Brooklyn.”
In recognition of her artistic perpetuation of this form of Mexican folk art, the Conservation Society will bestow its Lynn Ford Craftsman Award upon Kathleen at its Historic Preservation Awards Dinner on Friday, May 14. The Conservation Society established the award in 1978 in honor of Lynn Ford, a craftsman, cabinetmaker, builder and teacher.
Preserving the Art of Papel Picado will be on display at the Visitors Center located behind The Edward Steves Homestead and House Museum, 509 King William Street, through June. The Visitors Center and Museum are open daily, but hours vary depending on scheduled tours. For more information, telephone 210.225.5924.
Tickets for the Conservation Society’s Awards Dinner are $75 for individuals or $600 for a table of eight. For reservations, telephone 210.224.6163. To find out information about other Preservation Month activities, visit www.saconservation.org.
So what could the “prodigious poster” learn from a form of art where what is eliminated paints the picture? Cut.
Added on May 3: Great article on the area of Puebla known for papel amate