Reskate showcased a glow in the dark piece at last year’s annual Luminaria Arts Festival. Courtesy of Luminaria

SA celebrates a decade of light

This weekend, in the Hemisfair district, Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival will celebrate its ten-year anniversary with local artists and artists from all over the country.

There will also be poets, comedians, bands and numerous interactive events for attendees.

On Friday, Nov. 10 the admission is free, the event lasts from 7 to midnight.  On Saturday, there will be free and ticketed events all throughout the Southtown arts district with a closing ceremony back at Hemisfair.

Initially, Luminaria was conceived as an event that focused on lights incorporated with art installations.  However, as the years have gone on, the event has grown into something much more than light installations.

Luminaria now showcases music as well as authors of poetry and literature.  Kat Berrospe, alumni of UTSA who is now the administrative assistant for Luminaria, believes the San Antonio community has spurred Luminaria’s transformation.

On Friday, nearly 50 artists will showcase work at Hemisfair.

With such little time and so much to see, it is a good idea to keep in touch with their website, which will provide an interactive map of what, where, and when events are happening.

Luminaria is not an event like Fiesta; it is first and foremost about the art.

There will not be any art sold at this event; Luminaria wants this to be an exhibit for the artists to showcase their work and for the community to interact with artists and even take part in some of the installations.

Luminaria is about the community; this is why they will have the McNay Art Museum and Witte Museum out at the event to showcase their solidarity in fostering connections between the arts and the San Antonio community.

Further, the Artpace Teen Council has created an interactive augmented reality program for the attendees to take part in.

If you are wondering what augmented reality is, just think back to the days when all of your friends were playing Pokemon Go on their phones.

Although there are many artists across the spectrum, here is a snapshot of a few artists that will be there on Friday. First off, Frank Valdez, a painter from Los Angeles.  For Luminaria Valdez plans on painting portraits of people and landscapes in and around Hemisfair Park.

He typically specializes in painting portraits of people from underrepresented areas.  Often he paints people that are immigrants, day laborers, students, maids and janitors. His work will be exhibited in the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).

Next up is artist Julia Barbosa Landois whose original installation was destroyed in Hurricane Harvey.

Despite losing her work in the tragedy, the Houston native decided she wanted to still take part in the event.  Landois’ new installation features repurposed materials found in Houston after the hurricane.

Her installation is focused on showing the suburban expansion in the Texas metro areas.

This piece will be located in the 19th century Carriage House in the Hemisfair Park.   

A graphic arts studio from Barcelona, Spain called Reskate will have a mural located between the historic Sweeney and Herman Schultz Houses.

This mural will be glow in the dark.  Meaning it will be one image during the day and a new one by night.  Another muralist present on Friday will be Gera Lozano, a conceptual artist from Brooklyn, New York.  Lozano is going to paint a mural on the back of The Magik Theatre.

This mural will feature three overlapped murals in three colors that can be viewed separately, as colored lights illuminate the mural throughout the night.  Local artist Ruth Leonela Buentello has created a painting that will be mounted all along the San Antonio Riverwalk at the Hemisfair.  Buentello is passionate about empowering communities through her work, particularly Chicanas.  Buentello prefers the word “Chicana,” because she feels that by using that word it is a form of protest.  In her opinion many artists stray as far away from the word as possible for fear of being pigeonholed, instead Buentello chooses to embrace it. Her work often explores socio-cultural examinations of Chicana identity, cultural representations of gender, and the cooptation of Chicana, Tejana, Latina history and culture. Her piece for Luminaria will be of an immigrant mother, whose narrative will be told by the objects that surround her.  Lastly, circus artist, physical performer and choreographer Esther de Monteflores who hails from Bellingham, Washington.  She will be performing a piece titled Tiny Cities, which is a 30minute contemporary circus show about a pigeon. The piece features bread-filled wine glasses, cardboard-box juggling, life-sized pigeons, live costume changes and wire walking.

You can catch this performance in the Yanaguana Garden.

Aside from the installations, there will be music provided by Austin legends The Octopus Project, Lower Dens from Baltimore, and (one of my favorite local bands) Filthy, who plan on incorporating some cool visuals into their set.

This event truly has something for everyone. For a full list of installations and events, check out the Luminaria website luminariasa.org.

On the other hand, it is always fun to wander around and see where the night takes you.

The festivities do not end on Friday night.  On Saturday there will be a ticketed brunch with artists, a CD signing session, literary readings, art-sci symposium, and artist-run workshops, all of which will take place in the Southtown arts district.

At the end of Saturday there will be a closing party back at the Hemisfair, which is a ticketed event.  So this Friday and Saturday be a part of the community, learn something new, meet new people and most of all, have fun.

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