British artist Martin Donlin finally got to visit his own installed piece in San Antonio. Donlin’s “Hippocrates,” an 18 ft. by 30 ft. wall-mounted glass sculpture, dominates a wall that’s the transition from the old Methodist Hospital, to the new Sky Tower.
“The old building finishes and the new one begins. So we’ve got him kind of looking backwards and forwards,” he said.
The installation is highly symbolic. If you look carefully, the wide view suggests the Rod of Asclepius, which was wielded by the ancient Greek god of healing and medicine.
Tagging is a persistent problem in San Antonio and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal talked about how he’s trying to fight it.
“We take buildings that have been tagged significantly and we offer building owner an opportunity for a free mural,” he said.
Bernal said that their technique is pretty simple.
“We’ve got artists that we have in waiting and we get the artist and the building owner together," he said. "They come up with a concept and then we pay for the paint and scaffolding and those sorts of things.”
Luminaria, the city's annual celebration of arts, is changing. A move of location, date, and length of time have the event poised for something big. This year's scheduled November 7-8 dates will mark the seventh Luminaria. The move to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will also be new.
One of San Antonio’s big citywide celebrations has been getting an overhaul: It’s Luminaria, the light-centered, art-focused springtime celebration that has thrilled San Antonians at Hemisfair for the last several years. But not anymore.
“We like to move kind of with how the city is moving. And that area with the Tobin Center coming up, and the Southwest Center’s already there, just seemed like a really good palate to stage Luminaria this year," said Luminaria Board President Liz Tullis on moving the celebration from Hemisfair to River North.
Public art comes in many sizes, and is put in many places. One in particular fascinated me recently. You probably have seen it; it’s right in the middle of the road.
“The obelisk at Fulton and Blanco is actually part of an earlier bond program,” said city of San Antonio Public Arts Manager Jimmy LeFlore, talking about the 28-foot-tall, four-sided obelisk in the middle of the traffic roundabout. As LeFlore said, this public art aspired to an additional, unusual function.
San Antonio artist Justin Boyd has started his residency program in Germany. I reached the Southwest School of Art’s teacher and artist via Skype.
“I’m speaking from the Kunstlerhaus Bethanian, and it’s in an area of Berlin called Kreutzberg,” he said.
Kunstlerhaus is the international cultural center that’s hosting Boyd’s artistic residency, and as Boyd explained, there are many other artists there as well: “There’s artists here from Korea, from Japan, Denmark."
A local artist heads to Berlin to begin his artistic residency. That residency program is a construct of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.
“We send four artists a year through an open call process," said Mary Heathcott, executive director of the Blue Star.
“They’re selected by a jury and they get to spend three months there to dive deeper into their practice; to meet new artists, to meet new curators, and to really be in the Mecca of contemporary art right now,” Heathcott said.
I asked the obvious question: "That costs a lot of money, doesn't it?"
The Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum mosaic program is grooming promising art students for a future in the field. Last week I introduced you to the program that encourages art students’ interests and abilities. This week I’ll introduce you to a student benefiting from the program.
Blue Star Mosaic recruits talented students from area high schools to join their after school program. One of those students, Yenifer Gaviña, detailed the time commitment, "from 4:30-7:30 and during summer from 1:30-5:30.”
I asked her if that was a big sacrifice of her time.