Morning art walk through the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

Seriously. We walked on the river yesterday morning into downtown, along the River Extension, into the Convention Center Lagoon with its stunning 1968 mosaic murals by Juan O’Gorman and Carlos Merida and then turned left into the actual Convention Center itself.

A convention center seems an unlikely destination for locals, but we wanted to explore the City of San Antonio’s exhibition combining some things old and many new works in celebration of our Tricentennial, “Confluence: Art in the Convention Center.”

We wandered around the myriad of halls and multiple levels of the expansive center on a scavenger hunt for art, a hunt enhanced by the fact we had no clues where we would find the pieces. This added an entertaining touch of serendipity to our quest, but the Department of Arts & Culture does have a cheat sheet online locating the artworks for those who prefer to spend less time lost in the amazing maze of meeting spaces.

While we went for the art, the architectural design of the center itself, reconfigured in 2017 to eliminate its dated frumpiness, is worth meandering through. MarmonMok has created an award-winning facility that gives San Antonians one more reason to be proud to call this home.

Let me know if you spot Ken Little’s cast-iron pair of shoes, “Victory and Defeat.” We missed them completely. We saw Little last night fronting Rodeo Ho Ho at the Liberty Bar, and he said he was not sure he could find his way back to them either. He did offer a clue; they are parked in front of a window.

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.