San Antonio’s two arts funding regranting agencies have awarded a total of $87,000 to nine individual artists and two organizations, with $15,000 more to be given out through a new people’s choice award.

On Feb. 1, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) announced that its 2018 NALAC Fund for the Arts grants went to two organizations, five individual musical, visual, and multidisciplinary artists in San Antonio, and another local artist collaborating with two national artists.

The NALAC individual artist grant recipients are Bonnie Ilza Cisneros, David Zamora Casas AKA Nuclear Meltdown, Fernando Andrade, Jesse Ruiz, and Juan Tejeda. Each receive $5,400. Suzy González received a national grant of $5,000 along with Catriona Rueda Esquibel and Luz Calvo, with whom González is collaborating on a San Francisco exhibition.

Juan Tejada Credit: Courtesy / Juan Tejada

Tejeda’s grant will help fund a music project, to be released as a compact disc titled “Raiz XicanX,” using a multigender term for Chicano. Several original songs combine with two corridos penned by his father during World War II but never before heard, and tradition conjunto music, Tejada said.

His own songs cover a range of styles representative of the cultural heritage of San Antonio, he said, “from indigenous cantos and chants, to corridos, to polkas rancheras and ‘barbacoa blues’ in the conjunto style.” Fusing all these styles is “the reality of our music,” Tejada said.

Receiving funding support from the national organization is “part of the premise of why NALAC exists, to celebrate and teach, and to help to preserve these important Chicano and Latino artists and music traditions around the nation.”

Grantee organizations Latin@s in Heritage Conservation, and Conjunto Heritage Taller, each received $5,000 from NALAC.

Conjunto Heritage Taller students perform at a Veterans Day event at HEB South Flores Market in November 2017.
Conjunto Heritage Taller students perform at a Veterans Day event at HEB South Flores Market in November 2017. Credit: Courtesy / Guadalupe “Lupito” Acuña

On Tuesday, the Artist’s Foundation of San Antonio announced three grantees receiving $15,000 each: Riley Robinson in the visual arts category, Aaron Prado in the performing arts category, and Bryce Milligan in literary arts, all from San Antonio.

Having edited Literary San Antonio, a new anthology published by TCU Press, Milligan said he has the voices of its many real-life characters in his head and would like to bring them to life in a series of prose poems and vignettes.

Poet, novelist, singer/songwriter, editor and publisher Bryce Milligan will use his Artist Foundation grant to develop a collection of prose poems that explore the literary history of San Antonio.
Poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, editor, and publisher Bryce Milligan Credit: Courtesy / Bruce Jordan

“I’m sort of a font of all this information, and wanted to put it to good use with the grant,” Milligan said.

The project has “very little commercial value, but has considerable cultural value,” he said, and the funding will allow him the necessary time to write.

Robinson applied for the grant with a project involving parabolic sound mirrors that would allow people to converse over a 300-foot distance traversing the U.S.-Mexico border, between a park in McAllen and a park in Reynosa, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

The grant will allow Robinson to “start the process” of initiating collaboration to realize the piece, he said.

In addition, 10 finalists representing the top 10 percent of applicants to the Artist’s Foundation, will compete for the $15,000 Tobin Prize for Artistic Excellence People’s Choice Award. This is the first year such an award will be given.

The finalists are: Nan Cuba and Michelle Mondo in literary arts; Nathan Felix and Anna DeLuna in performing arts; and in visual arts, candidates are Sarah Fox, Megan Harrison, Jim Mendiola, Eric Fonseca, Raul Gonzalez, and Jacqueline McGilvray.

From now through Feb. 20, residents of Bexar County can view the artists’ project proposals online, and register one choice.

All four Artist’s Foundation winners will be honored during a public reception Feb. 27 at Francis Bogside, when the people’s choice recipient will be revealed. A public exhibition showcase of all four artists will take place in November at a location yet to be determined.

Founded in 2006, the Artist’s Foundation has given out 116 grants to individal artists totaling $710,000. NALAC’s funding for artists granting program launched in 2005, said Gabriel Magraner, director of programming, giving out 55 grants totaling $300,258 over that period, representing the national organization’s “largest investment on a city level,” he said.

For each annual competitive granting cycle, artists and organizations propose projects, and are selected by a panel of jurists. For organizations, proposed projects could include strategic planning, as in the case of Latin@s in Heritage Conservation.

NALAC and the Artist’s Foundation both received 2018 funding of $30,000 from the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture, for individual artist regranting. Under the new Cul-TÚ-Art equity funding plan, if approved by City Council on Feb. 15, the organizations would each be eligible for up to $40,000 in regranting funds.

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Nicholas Frank

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...