More than 50 artists, community members, and media professionals gathered at the Eastside’s Little Carver Center to preview this year’s Luminaria, San Antonio’s local, iconic multi-arts festival. The press event aimed to create buzz within the artist community and introduce some of the featured artists who will collaborate together through art, music, performing arts, and more.
The festival, which was created by former Mayor Phil Hardberger in 2008, will take place in the historic Eastside for the first time from Nov. 9-12.
“The Eastside of San Antonio has an often forgotten history that is rich in culture and the arts,” said Carver Community Cultural Center Executive Director Yonnie Blanchett. “It’s our hope that by utilizing the facilities and infrastructure here on the Eastside, Luminaria will be one of many San Antonio city festivals that will take up residence here.”
Several iconic Eastside locations include the Carver Community Center, Lockwood and Dignowity parks, the Hays Street Bridge, and the IDEA Carver Academy. These places will be “reignited” by the artists who will come to show their passion, share their art, and express both personal and local histories for all attendees to see.
“Not only do we want to showcase arte and the light that it brings to communities, but we want to showcase the landscape of who we are as a city,” said artist Jesse Borrego, who will perform alongside tile artist Oscar Alvarado and illustrator Jacinto Guevara at the festival. The members of the group call themselves “The three artistas,” and Borrego said he will sing and act on a mobile bike stage that will incorporate the art of his two colleagues.
“Jacinto Guevera will be illustrating everything that he sees as we move, and Alvarado built the bike,” Borrego added. “This is just one example of how different artists collaborate at Luminaria. You’ll see not just how people are good but how people collaborate and go beyond.”
Councilman Alan Warrick (D2) sees the event as an opportunity to showcase the history and culture of an up-and-coming area, which he categorizes as “the future of the art scene” in San Antonio.
“It’s great to see the neighborhoods involved in this art process because sometimes it gets overshadowed by larger institutions, but the people of the community are really what make the art relevant and tangible,” Warrick said. ” I think that is what is going to make this Luminaria one for the books.”
Luminaria Executive Director Kathy Armstrong said that the event would not be possible without the wonderful artists who come to share “their creativity and vision.” To her, the artists are the ones who will set the tone for this year’s festival and its ensuing themes.
For a detailed list of featured artists, click here.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, a mural unveiling reception will introduce three permanent murals at the Nolan St. Underpass from 6-8 p.m.
“On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Hays Street Bridge will be transformed,” Armstrong said. “It’s already an iconic, historic site, but when you bring artists, dancers, poets, musicians, and visual artists – when you bring them and show them the footprint – they take it to the next step.”
There will be a variety of free community arts events as well as special workshops and artists brunches (ranging from $10-35 in price) on Nov. 12.
The additional workshops, “are going to serve as an introduction and way for (attendees) to deepen (their) relationship with the arts,” Armstrong said. “You can take programs in ceramics, photography, African drumming, and even martial arts.”
For more details, prices, and a full schedule of events, click here.
Josh and Steph Huskin, featured artists of Future Sailor music group, are looking forward to the festivities.
“I’ve been playing music longer than I’ve been taking pictures,” Huskin said, who is a also well-known local editorial and commercial photographer. “It means a lot to us, we are really excited to play.”
Artists like Borrego made it a point to highlight the international spectrum of the festival.
“We will collaborate with artists that come (from) as far as China,” he said. “We have this incredible fusion of world art and it makes sense with our designation as a World Heritage Site. They’ve put responsibility on the creative community so that every year we raise the bar in terms of what is considered the creative and cultural community of San Antonio.”
Artist Annele Spector wants the artist footprint on the Eastside to transcend boundaries and create a movement that’s even bigger than Luminaria. She will be working on a creative, multi-arts piece that is all about the Eastside and its history and evolution over the years.
“We will weave stories together with music, mysticism, and magic,” Spector said. “I want Luminaria to bring the artist community to (Eastside) neighborhoods and have them create a lasting voice for the future. I don’t want people to just come to the Eastside for an arts festival and leave and never come back.”
“We invite the community to revisit the Carver from time to time, year to year,” she said. “Let’s begin an ongoing relationship that will assist in reigniting the forgotten history that the Eastside has in culture and the arts.”
To learn more, visit Luminaria’s website.
Top image: Artist Kaldric Dow is one of Luminaria’s featured Eastside artists. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.