Courtesy of Kathy Armstrong, Director of Luminaria

“It’s safe to say there’s no event like this in the country,” Executive Director Kathy Armstrong said of Luminarias, San Antonio’s contemporary arts festival. The festival returns on Wednesday, Nov. 9 with four days of food, drinks and art.

Every year, Luminaria takes place in a different location within San Antonio, and this year it will be centered around the Carver Community Cultural Center and the surrounding neighborhood. The festival is a notable source of excitement throughout the San Antonio art community. Whether you’re an artist or solely an admirer of art, Luminaria is an event you shouldn’t miss.

Armstrong describes the unique festival as “a meet-up for artists and audiences.” With over 3,000 artists contributing to the festival through various mediums, this event has something for every art lover to enjoy and discover.

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“When you cross-pollinate the audiences, you know, you’ll have someone who’s coming (to Luminaria) because they’re really interested in dance, but then they become exposed to other artists who work with different mediums,” Armstrong explained. “Really, this event is a showcase piece both for San Antonio and for the arts.”

The projects showcased in the festival are chosen by the Artistic Advisory Committee, which picks from open-call entries and works done by artists who are specifically invited to participate in Luminaria. The focus is always on San Antonio artists, but the festival features pieces by artists from across the state, country and world. Throughout the event, audiences will see works by painters from China, a muralist from Spain, dancers from Mexico and a street artist from Portugal.

UTSA artists in The San Antonio New Media Collective will also participate on Friday night, featuring their exhibition of kinetic, human-powered sculptures throughout the festival’s various locations.

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The festival kicks off Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 6-8 p.m. with the unveiling of permanent murals on Cherry and Nolan Street. One of the goals of Luminaria is to contribute to the city, particularly the neighborhood where the festival takes place, and these murals are a physical example of Luminaria’s contribution to San Antonio.

Thursday’s events will take place along the Hays Street Bridge and feature an array of artists showcasing their talents through various mediums. A sound-and-light piece by Brett Elmendorf will be responding to the ambient noise heard from the area surrounding the bridge. You’ll also find dancers, poets and even a Texas State Representative who moonlights as an experimental DJ.

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Friday, Luminaria’s biggest night, the festival will feature multiple showcases in Lockwood Park, Dignowity Park and the Carver Community Cultural Center from 8 p.m. to midnight.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Luminaria offers three limited-attendance events, including the closing party. From noon to 4 p.m. there will be an open Community Arts Event that encourages the exploration of open studios and open houses in the neighborhood. Afterwards, the closing party will be held from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Healy Murphy Community Center and will feature international artists from Wuxi, China and Monterrey, Mexico.

Luminaria is a free event, excluding Saturday’s workshops, the Artists brunch and closing party. Tickets for Saturday’s events range in price from $10-$55. Parking at the Alamodome and bike valet will be available for festival goers. For more information about the festival and the artists visit http://luminariasa.org/

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