A city teeming with talent. Artists whose creative juices flow constantly, filling them with visionary dreams of projects that will enrich our lives.
If…. If only they had a boost of support. A grant of $5,000 can jumpstart a project, freeing the artist to complete it and share the finished product.
This is what the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, a nonprofit organization founded by Bettie Ward and Patricia Pratchett, does. And does well.
Since 2006, the Artist Foundation has granted 102 artists residing in Bexar County $570,000. And the Artist Foundation recently completed another round of awards.
Zach Dorn, self-described as “a theater artist who aims to rediscover the suspension of disbelief from the six year-old within all of us and use it to reexamine life as an adult,” received both the Alan Beckstead Award for Original Production and the Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence.
This delicate resuscitation of the audience’s imaginative spirit has invoked the use of puppetry, live cinematic experimentations, fast-paced storytelling techniques, and reinvention…. Like unruly children, my ideas rebel against traditional performance techniques. My live puppet productions have moved away from conventional staging by transforming entire theater spaces into new and unfamiliar worlds.
Support from the Artist Foundation arrives atop earlier seed money Dorn received from The Jim Henson Foundation, and we will not need to wait long to appreciate the results. An Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Show will be presented by S.M.A.R.T. and Miniature Curiosa at their new Toy Theater Parlor inside 1906 South Flores at 8 p.m. on March 20, 21, 27 and 28; and April 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
Poet Barbara Ras received the Department for Culture and Creative Development Award for Literary Arts. Recently published collections of her poetry include One Hidden Stuff and The Last Skin.
In an online “conversation” on Granta, Ras offers this description of poetry:
Poetry, like all creativity, is an antidote to despair. Even the darkest poems are beautiful. For me, poetry is the only way to express what seems to me to be the essential quest: searching in the dark for answers to questions that are unanswerable.
Ras, the director of Trinity University Press, will read selections from The Last Skin during an evening of poetry beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, at The Twig, 306 Pearl Parkway.
The Department for Culture and Creative Development Award for Choreography will assist Stephan A. Gaeth, a founder of The Uptown Studio on Fredericksburg Road, in his efforts to:
…broaden my choreographic horizons by challenging myself to mix genres and styles and learn new ones, while creating and directing the plot and themes of the show.
Expect to see and hear more of Daniela Riojas, a vocalist and autoharp player with Femina-X, who received the Department for Culture and Creative Development Award for Media Arts.
The artistic statement for the “avant-garde power-pop band,” reads:
Using a blend of electronic beats, atmosphere, and foundational live instruments, the music stems from a hunger to evolve and merge magic with blues, trip-hop, jungle, and pop. Through a primal-meets-modern hybrid of machine and (wo)man, it actively hones in on the colorful space between any and all labels, while creating unconventional fusions – taking from sounds of nature, ancestors, electricity, modernity, and visions of ecstatic living.
Known for his mastery of danceable Latin-infused yet experimental beats, Alex Scheel from local psych-rock band, Pop Pistol…. conducts electronic programming while skillfully toggling from voice to guitar to laptop…. Jeff Palacios, deepens the overall landscape with the unique task of being a rhythmic yet melodic counterpart to the electronic bass and sub-bass movements. Chris Cooper humanizes quantized beats with frenetic poly-rhythms and four-on-the-floor power. Daniela”s chameleon voice has the range to both coo and siren, lull and frighten, always reaching from a place of passion, imagination, and child-like playfulness….
With a 2014-15 season that includes singing with Opera National de Paris, the San Francisco Opera, the Greensboro Opera and the Los Angeles Opera, Erich René Barbera still thinks of San Antonio as his hometown. The only artist to ever receive three top awards at Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Moscow in one year, the winner of the TNT Award for Classical Singing is eager to expose children in San Antonio “to such a wonderful art form and encourage them to pursue their dreams like so many others encouraged me to follow mine….”
The Founders Award for Music Composition went to a faculty member of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Matthew Dunne. A frequent collaborator with The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, he has recorded three compact discs: Forget the Alamo, Music in the Mission and The Accidental Trio. Dunne’s grant will help him embark on his first film score project.
“The everlasting light bulb,” 2014 painting/performance by Christie Blizard
Another professor at UTSA, Christie Blizard received the Rick Liberto Award for Visual Arts. The artist writes:
Much of my work is about exploring the space between painting and interventionist practices. These two fields are usually at odds, but I find it to be a rich pairing to negotiate new contexts, humor, and poetry.
“H,” 2014 graphite on paper by Fernando Andrade
Graphic designer Fernando Andrade received the Linda Pace Foundation Award for Contemporary Art. The artist’s abstract paintings “deal with human emotions,” while his drawings often reflect social issues.
His Jugando a la Guerrita series of drawings:
…depicts a combination between my upbringing and adulthood memories in regard to the violence (of northern Mexico) and how it has corrupted society…. Through the images here, I hope to show a glimpse into the life of children growing up around violence and the emotions like revenge and anger that those children are likely to take into the adult world.
“God of Carnage,” set design by Jeremiah Teutsch
The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Awards went to Jeremiah Teutsch in the category of set design and Marcus Cerda for costume design. Teutsch describes his recent focus:
Most of my subject matter of late has been on the topic of and the consideration of death and terminality, and how society moves itself around the nasty business of dealing with the dead and the emotions that are inherent in regarding someone else’s mortality. This common fiber is present in my paintings, sculptures and, more recently, my set designs. It is my goal, in life and in art, to figure out what in the hell is going on.
“Dancer in Red” by Marcus A. Cerda
Cerda’s recent work merges his background in the classical concepts of fashion design with his collage style of synthetic cubist paintings. He explains:
This convergence is applied by creating asymmetrical patterns and drapery to express the human body in a nonconforming and lyrical style. An intricate dialogue where each house has its own agenda but cannot help to feed off the other yet neither can successfully consume the other. Thus, the art for the human form is derived from – inspired by – dictated to – and produced with a strong sense of the radical non-conformist of the individual.
An incredible array of talent is represented by these San Antonio artists. To support the efforts of the Artist Foundation to enable artists to pursue their dream projects, visit the foundation’s website.