Ana Hernandez Burwell in her studio. Aurelio Minesinger/The Paisano

If on Feb. 2 you find yourself weaving through the bustling crowds of Blue Star complex or along the crowded sidewalks of South Presa and South St. Mary’s, you will come across some very unique galleries and art openings that will be celebrating San Antonio’s Tricentennial.

The First Friday of the month will mark the opening of some very special shows to the public. Chiefly, Blue Star Art Museum will be hosting the opening of the second segment of Common Currents, a group exhibit organized by the Tricentennial Commission, consisting of 300 artists and marking the 300th anniversary of San Antonio’s establishment as a city. Common Currents will feature work from prominent UTSA alumni, as well as current UTSA MFA candidates and undergraduates.

Among those whose work will be displayed at this opening is Verena Gaudy, a current MFA candidate at UTSA. Her work will consist of two helmet-like structures with knobs and spikes to represent the conflict between “the Spaniards with their bullets and the Indigenous peoples with their spearheads.” These sculptures, like many of Gaudy’s other works, explore conflict through abstraction. Another MFA candidate at UTSA, Martin C. Rodriguez, will perform at the Blue Star Gallery exhibit opening.

The remnants of his performance will be housed in gallery four of the museum, along with its documentation.

Another highlight for First Friday this month will be Presa House’s opening for OUR TURN, a show featuring the work of a number of gallery preparators, the “unsung blue-collar individuals who traditionally work behind the scenes installing the alternating artworks and exhibits found in museums, galleries and other art venues.” The showcase will contain work from a number of UTSA alumni and students. Among them are John Dalton Atkins, whose work looks at connections and hyperbolic arrangements; Rhys Munro, a painter inspired by architecture and cubism; and Ana Hernandez Burwell, a muralist and painter who draws influence from her work as a gallery preparator and from the world around her. The list is extensive and each participating artist was asked to submit one new work, so there will be plenty to see.

Ultimately, this First Friday will be the kick off to an exciting month and a strong predecessor to CAM, or Contemporary Art Month, another highly anticipated event during the month of March here in San Antonio.

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