"a) Fama, (a) French, and (a) Booth" (2014) by Lee Peterson. Courtesy photo.

It is once again Blue Star Red Dot season, with the 25th Anniversary of this art shindig being celebrated in a big way. The annual event is one of the most highly anticipated arts fundraisers in San Antonio, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the programs of Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. There will be a preview session for collectors and sponsors on Tuesday with the “Viva Red Dot” party happening on Wednesday, May 20, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

In 2014 nearly $50,000 in combined proceeds was returned to the participating artists. On many occasions, artists are approached by nonprofits to donate art again and again with promises of intangibles like “good exposure.” As a group, artists are a generous lot, but generally the least financially able to bear giving their work away no matter how good the cause may be.

According to Blue Star, “50% of the profit from art sales is returned to the participating artists, making Blue Star’s Red Dot the single largest event in San Antonio that gives back to artists through the sale of their work. Over the past 25 years, Red Dot has given back over a million dollars to local artists.”

"Into the Night We Fall for Slumber" (2015) by Chrysanthemum Brown, MOSAIC Alumni Emerging Artist. Courtesy photo.
“Into the Night We Fall for Slumber” (2015) by Chrysanthemum Brown, MOSAIC Alumni Emerging Artist. Courtesy photo.

The structure of Blue Star Red Dot makes it a win-win situation for all. This isn’t a silent auction, this is a legitimate sale. Patrons of the arts, including collectors and gallery owners, are solicited to make their tax deductible contributions of art to the sale. The work is then sold with 50% of profits going to the artist, and the rest going to proven programs like MOSAIC educational programming, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and family activities.

Once again Sara and Jeremy Jessop will co-chair the event. Jessop has been involved with Blue Star since 2010. It is somewhat of a family affair for her since her mother, Ann Griffith Ash, has also served on the board. Coincidentally, Ash is this year’s Honorary Patron. Serving on boards and chairing events are time consuming endeavors. In 2014, I asked Jessop why she does it.

“To be a part of continuing that cause of giving artists a platform to express themselves is why I happily say yes. Art isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as far as interest, but there is something for everyone’s taste at Blue Star. It’s very cool when someone comes in who thinks they don’t like contemporary art, then see a Lloyd Walsh (a perennial favorite here in San Antonio) and fall in love,” she said.

"iffy" (2014) by Jason Willome. Courtesy photo.
“iffy” (2014) by Jason Willome. Courtesy photo.

The Honorary Artist for 2015 is Cruz Ortiz. The Honorary Artist for 2014 – the inimitable Gary Sweeney – conducted one of his “Artist on Artist” interviews for the San Antonio Current with Ortiz in 2014. This is Cruz’s “Top Ten” list of advice for his students from that interview:

  • Come up with your Empire Plan
  • Work hard till it hurts
  • Fall in love, but then pay attention during heartbreak
  • Travel
  • Exchange information
  • You are from a family – don’t forget
  • Start a band, but then breakup the band
  • Document, document, document
  • Love will find you — just pay attention
  • Go Spurs Go!

These are words to live by and it would do us all well to remember that. There is a reason that Cruz Ortiz is much loved in San Antonio. For the complete interview and insight to what makes Cruz tick, click here.

"Finger Bangers" (2014) by Angela Fox. Courtesy photo.
“Finger Bangers” (2014) by Angela Fox. Courtesy photo.

The dress code for the evening is “Fiesta Chic” and that is all you need to know to understand that this will be a serious party. Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum has become known for throwing an excellent hoedown over the years, and 2015 should be no different. There will be succulent bites from Teka Molino and bespoke sips from sponsors like Absolut. And no party in 2015 is complete without spinning vinyl, which in this case, will be provided by Ben Luhrman of Third Coast Rhythm Project, KRTU Jazz 91.7 and Tucker’s Kozy Korner.

It is good to be reminded that Blue Star is a rich cultural resource for our community. Recently, Blue Star was recognized with a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the amount of $15,000 for exhibition support.

 NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one from Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”

“Support from the NEA is outstanding recognition for Blue Star’s programming,” said Mary Heathcott, Executive Director, Blue Star Contemporary. “We are truly grateful for this support, which will allow us to continue to showcase the work of artists from San Antonio and beyond in innovative exhibitions to include this summer’s 22 artists chosen through our Open Call.”

"Beware" (2014) by Andy Benavides. Courtesy photo.
“Beware” (2014) by Andy Benavides. Courtesy photo.

Blue Star Red Dot takes place in the heart of the Blue Star Arts Complex, 116 Blue Star, San Antonio, TX 78204. Tickets to this year’s event are $150 per person or $275 a couple. Purchase online here. Young Friend tickets (for guests under 30-years-old) are also available. For questions regarding Collector or Sponsor opportunities, please contact Elaine Leahy at 210.227.6960 or elaine@bluestarart.org for further information. To view works for sale online, click here.

*Featured/top image: “a) Fama, (a) French, and (a) Booth” (2014) by Lee Peterson. Courtesy photo.

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Tami Kegley

Tami Kegley has lived the life of an artist. Through multiple careers — dancer, percussionist, performance artist, sculptor, goldsmith, gallerist — she has pursued her need to create. The Great Recession...