Interior of the Milam Building before the AME Collaborative pop-up. Photo by David Rangel.
Interior of the Milam Building before the AME Collaborative pop-up. Photo by David Rangel.

Awesome San Antonio, the local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, flipped the script this month and turned to the public for votes to select an internal Trustee with an Awesome idea for its $1,000 grant for the month of January. AME Collaborative, a pop-up artists collective, was announced as this month’s winner at the Awesome SA Dream Week party at Tucker’s Kozy Korner on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Every month since October 2011, Awesome SA has awarded the grant to individuals and/or organizations with ideas that simply make San Antonio more awesome. The Rivard Report is a founding media sponsor of Awesome SA.

Contemporary Art Month (CAM) happens in March and the AME Collaborative is excited to participate by offering programming and events. They will announce their next venue during CAM in the coming weeks. Be sure to check out the CAM calendar for upcoming events or follow AME on twitter @ame_studio, instagram @ame.collaborative, and Facebook.

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Regular monthly public grants of $1,000 are back to schedule starting in February – so be sure to submit your awesome ideas. Applications can be filled out online.

Interested in finding out about the applications that were submitted by the Trustees? Read on for the awesome ideas in their own words below.

And the Winner is…. 

AME Collaborative Pop-Ups
by Shannon Gowen

The AME Collaborative was established by Michele Jacob, who worked with the OPEN initiative to activate downtown and raise awareness of the vacant properties available during the month of December and received the “Peoples Choice Award” for best Pop-Up.

AME Collaborative currently consists of 10 artists including: Lee Benner, Shannon Gowen, Michele Jacob, Mat Kubo, Benjamin McVey, Jack McGilvray, Shea McGilvray, David Rangel, Rey Silva and Javier Trevino.

AME in French means “soul,” which was suiting for filling the empty and vacant spaces. AME has attracted downtown residents and visitors to San Antonio, as well as the community that works downtown by offering exciting opportunities to support local artists as well as helping to authenticate our downtown as a vibrant urban space for art in public spaces. This helps to eliminate the emptiness of these vacant buildings and engaging the community by introducing emerging artists in San Antonio and assisting with building our downtown core.

AME will act as a working collaborative studio and art space. Pop-up spaces will be activated with free programming, public events, artist’s talks, zine parties, music and more. With this grant we will be able to continue to activate vacant downtown storefronts by covering insurance and production fees for the underutilized spaces with happenings to attract the public downtown to experience art. AME hopes to continue pop-ups on a monthly basis until the otherwise vacant spaces are rented out. Once a space is rented out, AME will seek out a new venue starting the process over – hoping to help the renter to bring in new tenants by activating the space.

Rolands Shoe Rack Back to School Event
by Ashley Garcia

Roland’s Shoe Rack Inc. was established in memory of Ashley’s dear friend Roland Espinoza who lost his life in an auto accident 2010. A veteran and an awesome fella, Roland had a great outlook of life and everyone who encountered him left feeling a little better about them. His family commemorated him and his love of sneakers (more like obsession) by forming Roland’s Shoe Rack Inc. to help needy child to feel special with a new pair of shoes for the school year.

The grant would help sponsor shoes, fun, and games for their “Back to School Event.” Children in attendance at Roland’s Shoe Rack Back to School Event will receive new pair of shoes, pair of socks and draw string backpack (totaling $15). Additional funds will be raised to provide for as many San Antonio-area children as possible.

Front Yard Happy Hour
by Paul Bonner

Front Yard Happy Hour is a turnkey project to bring a different experience in San Antonio front yards, in a different neighborhood each month. Participants would sign up for an initial waiting list, and then subsequent participants would ideally be made eligible by referral.

As a host of Front Yard happy hour you would receive a mobile bar, cocktail tables and basic linens, ice bucket, glassware, cocktail shaker, etc. along with an inventory of items and party suggestions. Participants would be encouraged to share their photos, and document their experiences on the Front Yard Happy Hour website/Facebook Group and to share their party ideas etc.

As FYHH is envisioned primarily as a way to enhance the sense of community in neighborhoods, guidelines would be written to encourage participants to follow neighborhood assoc. rules, invite and involve neighbors and make accommodations for non-alcoholic beverages, sensible party size and noise level, respectful duration and other common sense stuff!

Go Fly a Kite!
by Claudia Loya

As we all know, San Antonio gets a solid two weeks of beautiful weather each spring.

Let’s capitalize on this deliciousness by celebrating science and kites! I’d like to propose the inaugural Go Fly a Kite Day in San Antonio. Ideally, I’d like to invite the local universities to participate in an ultimate kite contest. I’d also invite professors as guest speakers to kick off the event by explaining the science behind kites.

Less than half of the funds would go towards purchasing 100 “AwesomeSA” kites to hand out and the rest of the funds would go towards park and vendor permits.

Karnes City Kids
by Ryan V. Cox

Just outside San Antonio is the Karnes City Federal Detention Center where hundreds of women and children are detained upon entry into the United States. The majority of these families come to the U.S. seeking to escape severe domestic abuse, gang violence, and religious and political persecution in Central and South America, and they often use every dollar they can scrape together just to make the trip to the Texas border.

With the grant money we would put together backpacks for the children who are released from detention at Karnes City. These backpacks would include supplies and resources. It will likely cost $25 each to put together and will include food and snacks for travel, hygiene products, an age appropriate toy, a children’s book written in both Spanish and English, a Spanish-English dictionary for mom, a blanket, and other items that may be helpful to the family. 

Human Foosball Game (With Bubbles)
by Erica M. Salinas

I would like to have a human foosball game occur in downtown San Antonio. The human foosball inflatable “field” holds two teams of five people. We would advertise to get people to sign up, but would also leave spots open for passerby’s to join in.

There would also be a bubble machine.

This would draw people to the area, entertain the kids, and add some drama to the game. The field rental is $650 for three hours and there is about $100 of insurance required. The bubble machine rental plus solution is about $50. The rest of the money would be to obtain permits (if needed), buy scrimmage vests for the teams to wear, and some advertising.

St. Patrick’s Day Block Party Fundraiser
by Patrick Shearer

San Antonio isn’t known for a big St. Patrick’s day and I’m trying to change that. Last year I helped to throw a St Patrick’s Day party for fun, and to raise money for Teach for America. Our event last year brought hundreds of people out to Grayson Street and raised over $3000 for teachers working with Teach for America in our local schools.

This year I want to build on that success and make it better than ever. I want to grow from a one-venue party to a multi-venue block party on Grayson Street. The event would have free admission, and will be a great opportunity to build SA community as friends and neighbors come together. The City requires a permit (with a fee) and requires the organizers to pay a licensed barricade company to block off the street.

By fronting these and other startup costs, we can keep admission free (last year tickets were $25) and more money can go to back to teachers in our schools.

*Featured/top image: The AME Collective team, (from left) Benjamin McVey, Shannon Gowen, Michel Jacob, and Rey Silva, celebrates their Awesome SA grant win. Courtesy photo.

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The San Antonio, TX chapter of The Awesome Foundation was formed in May 2012 and began awarding $1,000 grants every month in October 2012. We accept applications on a rolling bases but celebrate awesomeness...