Street art entices venturing under the overpass

Quincy and St. Mary’s Street under I-35. Not a destination that ever crossed our minds for a walk from King William. That is until this weekend.

More than a dozen San Antonio artists,* organized by the private artist-driven San Antonio Street Art Initiative, tackled the unsightly interstate underpinnings and redefined the homely parking lot leased by the Wyndham Super 8 Hotel into an admission-free outdoor museum.

Composed of leaders of the city’s vibrant street arts scene, SASAI’s mission is to introduce and educate the local community about street and mural art and make our city a destination for street art lovers….

We seek to build and strengthen a street art community here that extends across all areas, activities and people. Street art makes neighborhoods vibrant. Street art extends the arts community outside the walls of museums, brings people to see new places to live and play, provides fresh perspectives for the young and old.

We are focusing initially on developing a visit friendly area in the city featuring a concentrated number of murals that will draw daily foot traffic, cyclists and visitors looking for an alternative beyond traditional tourist routes and attractions.

San Antonio Street Art Initiative

This is an amazingly ambitious and highly successful project.

So looking forward to seeing more.

Financial support for continued artistic efforts is welcomed on the website.

*Identifying who designed each mural was somewhat of an internet scavenger hunt for me…. Corrections are not just welcomed but encouraged.

Temporary art installations illuminate downtown storefronts

Had difficulty deciding whether to tamper with the whimsical excitement of encountering unexpected illuminated art in vacant storefronts. To tour or not to tour?

But the Mister gamely rushed home in his reverse-commute so we could arrive at the 5:30 start time for the opening walk of Cut and Paste, a continuation of Public Art San Antonio’s X Marks the Art series of public art installations. And then we waited. And waited. We considered just walking on our own, but, given the number of people at the weeknight gathering competing with Mardi Gras celebrations, bailing out seemed rude. In defense of PASA, this probably was the planned “reception” time, we just would have preferred to have not rushed and, instead, to have arrived at 6:15.

Finally, 45 minutes later, the art walk got under way.

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Rather than rely on random chance encounters, we were happy we waited for the walk because of the opportunity to hear several of the artists explain the rationale behind their work. As curator, Cruz Ortiz did a spectacular job of assembling a dynamic group of installations.

Visit the website, and follow the X’s around downtown. The displays will be up through May. Or go on the next after-work tour, which actually is billed as lasting an hour so should begin right at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, on the riverside plaza, Argo Plaza, at 175 East Houston Street.

Covering Up with Dignity on Dignowity Hill

An event that appears as though it should not be missed next year, like I did this year, has to be the Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby, which Rina Moreno and Cruz Ortiz  originated as a creative contribution to Contemporary Art Month.   If you failed to attend as well, click here to read the San Antonio Express-News’ coverage. 

Covering Up with Dignity
Jennifer Herrera's photo from NowCastSA: Covering Up with Dignity on Dignowity Hill

But, what convinced me to find out more was Jennifer Herrera’s photograph on NowCast San Antonio.   Not sure whether it was the shades or the goatee that compelled me to explore deeper, and, fortunately, someone has posted video footage capturing the carts careening across the finish line. 

Note:  I was not familiar with NowCast San Antonio, a nonprofit housed on the sixth floor of the Central Library.  According to its website: 

NOWCastSA is a grassroots project of Community Info NOW (formerly AACIS) and is funded in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, administered by the San Antonio Area Foundation.… NOWCastSA provides an interactive online communications portal for sharing neighborhood news – from neighborhood meetings and celebrations to disaster preparedness and volunteer opportunities, NOWCastSA focuses on the events, issues, and concerns that matter most to the neighborhood.  Working hands-on with citizen journalists of all ages, the NOWCastSA team helps build new bridges for neighbor-to-neighbor communications. 

NowCastSA also produces a blog, “a virtual public square.”