The 2022 Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival, the largest free outdoor arts festival of its kind in South Texas, will host over 200 individual artists on Nov. 19, closing down city streets from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts to Travis Park.
Artists are working solo and in collaboratives to showcase live music, fine art, film, digital art, dance, poetry and large-scale art installations.
Since its inception in 2008, Luminaria has produced San Antonio’s premier after-dark contemporary arts festival, reaching more than one million people. Luminaria’s programs support local artists, increase arts access for low-income residents, draw economic investment into communities and add vibrancy to the city’s downtown neighborhoods. It does all that while providing families with free and accessible opportunities to engage with contemporary arts and local emerging and professional artists.
Luminaria is much more than a one-day festival. Organizers support artists year-round, delivering contemporary arts programming throughout the year, culminating in the annual festival of international stature which energizes San Antonio’s urban core and galvanizes the city’s multi-arts culture.
Luminaria is committed to supporting artists and the arts, in good times and bad.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Luminaria launched the Corona Arts Relief grant for professional development during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ultimate goal of the grant was to address the impact of the pandemic lockdown, the winter storm and other ongoing economic hardships of individual artists living and working in Bexar County.
The Working Artist Fund continues that mission through a bi-annual, professional development micro-grant for individual artists that seeks to address the economic obstacles of artists living and working in the greater San Antonio area. The micro-grant offers an opportunity to advance an artistic career through professional development activities and adapt one’s artistic practice post-pandemic. Up to $550 is awarded to each grantee to support their activities and artistic growth.
“The Working Artist Fund is an unrestricted funds micro-grant for professional and emerging artists across disciplines,” said Keli Rosa Cabunoc Romero, grant manager for Luminaria and a professional multidisciplinary artist.
“The fund has become a way to introduce and coach artists through a grant process where the curatorial team and administrative staff does not disqualify artists for small mistakes,” she said. “Instead, Luminaria hosts grant workshops where I answer questions, provide templates for résumés, provide examples of artists statements, and a variety of important grant writing basics like budgets, data and more.”
The number of artists who submitted applications for the Working Artist Fund this past spring “is encouraging, as it demonstrates the community’s desire to create in and work out of San Antonio,” said Yadhira Lozano, Luminaria’s executive director. “It is my hope that this micro-grant helps artists focus on their work and to think bigger. The more funding we direct towards artists, the more spectacular, thought-provoking and inspiring work we will see and enjoy.”
This year’s Working Artist Funded-projects include theater performances, light installations, gallery exhibitions, dance performances, spoken word, film screenings, music stages and more.
Artists undergo an application process, submitting proposals for new works, costly workshops and increased materials costs. A curatorial committee composed of San Antonio artists and art experts made the difficult final selections. In 2023, the Working Artist Fund will have a new funding champion through a collaboration with Hopscotch and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
In addition to supporting artists through grants, Luminaria hosted events around town including a staging of Mark McCoin’s “Robotic Resonance” at Wanderlust Ironworks Studio and a live music event featuring Patricia Vonne, Los Callejeros de San Anto and Hotel Diplomats at the Lonesome Rose honky tonk bar on the St. Mary’s Strip. Luminaria also installed two fine art galleries at Palo Alto College during its Latinx History Month celebrations.
The event Luminaria is best known for, however, is its Contemporary Arts Festival, during which downtown San Antonio lights up for a one night celebration of the arts.
This year’s featured artists include:
- musicians Andria Rose, Nicky Diamonds, Chayito Champion, Tejano/Norteño Grupo Masizzo and emerging artist 17-year old T’sean;
- a poetry showcase of poets from North Carolina, Florida and Virginia led by Eddie Vega;
- fine art by LA Vatocosmico and Cassie Gnehm;
- film by Alex Ramirez;
- digital art by Yuliya Lanina and an interactive projection by Fraleigh & Miller;
- large art installations by Charles Harrison Pompa and Wanderlust Ironworks; and
- dance and drum performances by Urban-15.
In addition, UNAM San Antonio is presenting Murales en Movimiento by Abel Zuñiga and Teoría de Gravedad, a contemporary dance company from Monterrey, Mexico.
“Luminaria is one of San Antonio’s rich cultural assets, a true signature event for the city,” said City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture Director Krystal Jones. “It spotlights our strong presence on an international arts stage. Locals and visitors will have the opportunity to explore downtown and appreciate illuminating installations and live performances, created just for the festival.”
This year’s festival will host three stages, one fine art gallery, large-scale digital projections and more at The Tobin Center’s Will Naylor Smith River Walk Plaza, the Radius Center and Veterans Memorial Park. The festival will take over Jefferson Street from Auditorium Circle to Pecan Street.
Luminaria partner Hopscotch, an immersive art gallery, will extend its hours of operation until midnight and offer the “Luminaria cocktail” at the bar, with proceeds supporting the festival. Following the event, Hopscotch will carry the drink year-round to support the Working Artist Fund. Hemisfair partners UNAM San Antonio and the Mexican Cultural Institute will host Luminaria fine artists in their galleries after the festival.
“Our mission is to support artists so that San Antonio continues to serve as a city that inspires, creates and makes the world a better place through art,” said Lozano. “We are ALL art.”
Visit luminariasa.com for details and @luminariasa across social media. Click here to donate!