OC Art Blogger on the move – Good Art in Texas?
San Antonio, TX. At the 2012 SSCA annual conference, this year held in The Alamo City, San Antonio, three Orange County writers were shocked and amazed by this fascinating and artistic city!
Who would have thought that The Alamo City had good art! Ok, maybe Los Angeles and Orange County have warped my mind into forgetting about the other states outside of New York and California for art in America, but I stand corrected! Texas definitely has art. With a slew of public sculptures that brighten the city’s earth-toned downtown, and a poorly advertised well-stocked art museum, it makes total sense that somehow, someone would make this place a kind of art hub for Texas, outside of Austin’s city limits. Artpace is a non-profit organization that has contemporary art exhibits and houses artists-in-residence to create, show, and educate the population of San Antonio. Linda Pace (Linda Pace Foundation), the founder and major artistic influence for this city lives by the belief that art is a vital social force. She was also an artist, and as such, she exposed “…the symbolic potency of everyday images and objects in her drawings and assemblages.” As a collector she gathered more than 500 contemporary artworks into a personal and expressive collection, which reflects many of the critical strands of recent art. And as a philanthropist, she boldly fostered the work of today’s most adventurous artists through the founding of Artpace San Antonio, an international contemporary art program sited in her Texas hometown.
After 14 years in existence, Artpace has given fellowships to more than 150 artists and served as a catalyst in the careers of five MacArthur Fellows and four Turner Prize nominees. Located in a old gigantic car dealership in downtown, Artpace regularly involves more than 200 schools throughout South Texas into its exhibition program and innovative education programs. Pace once described Artpace as a “laboratory of dreams – my own as well as the artists.”
Secondary to my stumbling upon such an extraordinary art center, the humble San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) shows the dedication and the love for art that Linda Pace clearly embodied during her lifetime. The SAMA has an extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts, including sarcophagi, beautifully kept ceramics, and ancient busts. But this museum also has a huge modern and contemporary area that rotates regularly. This city has shocked me into love! The constant cicadas creating music for my dreams, the always-present humid warmth that reminds me of a different time, the smell of dew and fresh green around every corner, and the friendly patriotism of the locals… love it. Yes, it was very difficult for a Gluten-Free Vegan and her like-minded OC art writers to find edible treats, but we found them! The Cove, Vegeteria, and Green Cuisine filled us up better than Native Foods in OC! Andrea Steedman (former OC Art Blogger), Bryan Moe (former CSUF MA graduate), and myself all found a little love for the Alamo City last week while we conferred about Voodoo in Art and Culture… Every conference brings a new adventure, to try and find good ART, and I can’t wait to find out where my next one will be. I’l be blogging about it here, on the OC Art Blog. Stay Tuned!