Lady Base, a new art gallery in Southtown San Antonio area, is being presented as an art initiative exclusively for women and LGBTQ artists. Sarah Castillo, a UTSA bicultural studies graduate student, is the founder of this experimental art platform.

The gallery, which opened this past Saturday with a public meet-and-greet event, is located within Gallista Gallery on 1913 South Presa. The small art space is also functioning as Castillo’s personal studio. “As a woman artist, I feel there is a need in San Antonio to provide a space that honors the work of many of our artists,” Castillo says.

Whereas most art galleries in San Antonio have explicit rules and procedures for showcasing artists’ work, Lady Base will be much more free-flowing and accessible. This will allow many women and LGBTQ artists the opportunity to showcase their work.

Castillo says, “I know a lot of artists that a lot of people will never see, and that’s just in this city alone.”

A gallery like Lady Base is relatively new to San Antonio. Working as an artist, Castillo understands the frustrations of getting her work seen in galleries around the city. She has made it her responsibility to showcase the work that is never seen in San Antonio.

Lady Base’s mission is shown through its chosen representation: the women and LGBTQ artists in San Antonio. “It’s obvious that these are all marginalized groups of people and I can relate to that. That is what a lot of my work is about. I don’t know any other way to tell people who I am and what I’m about,” Castillo explains.

As a member of the Más Rudas Chicana art collective, Castillo has recognized the importance of a strong female community. Since 2009, the members of Más Rudas have been curating and creating installations throughout the San Antonio art community. They focus on empowering women and challenging the ideas of traditional female roles, while embracing the multiple cultural identities of women.

“Working with Más Rudas has really made me more aware of the importance of collaborations among women.”

Castillo also plans to use the space for the professional development of local artists, so they can learn how to build their portfolio and write artist statements.

Castillo describes her process with establishing the art space as intuitive. She came up with the name for the gallery on a whim. She says, “For me, [the name, Lady Base] connects to the city itself. We have a lot of military bases, so that made me think about this initiative as a base for these women and LBGTQ artists. So it’s like a central location or a platform to spring from.”

As a bicultural studies major as well as an archivist for San Anto Cultural Arts organization, Castillo planned on intersecting her gallery with her graduate thesis.

“I had several ideas about archiving, and about being an artist and I’m at this point in my life that they are all kind of starting to connect. Being in the UTSA graduate program is helping that to happen.”

Castillo’s main obstacle throughout the process of establishing the gallery has been maintaining confidence and not worrying about outsiders’ opinions.

“There’s this quote by Andy Warhol that I like, ‘Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad. While they are deciding, make even more art.’ I like to follow that idea,” Castillo says.

Lady Base’s first art show will be held on March 2 as a part of San Antonio’s Contemporary Art Month. The exhibit, called “Lady Works,” will be curated by Más Rudas and features work from Chris Davila, Audrya Flores, Suzy Gonzalez and Theresa Moher.

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