Children play with chalk in front of a mural. Photo by Scott Ball.
Children play with chalk in front of a mural at the Boys and Girls Club of America on Martin Luther King Drive.

Luminaria, San Antonio’s contemporary arts festival, is now accepting submissions from individuals, galleries, collectives, or other creative organizations for installations that will be considered for the upcoming festival. The selection committee will be looking for work that somehow connects to this year’s festival location: San Antonio’s historic Eastside.

“There is no theme but we do expect that the artists will look at the footprint and react to it,” Luminaria Executive Director Kathy Armstrong said. “Luminaria is a showcase of new works so we are looking for the freshest ideas to come out of your studio or workshop.”

The main festival will be on Friday, Nov. 11, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Additional programming and special events will take place on Nov. 9-13 and will include opportunities to meet with artists, musicians, and poets in a smaller setting.

Proposal applications are due by May 5 and require no application fee. All works must be created specifically for Luminaria and may include visual, performance, musical, literary, comedy, fashion, architecture, film, light, mixed media, environmental, dance or any combination of artistic genres. Cross-discipline works are also encouraged.

Those interested can submit their proposal through Artists are commissioned and paid for their services but are required to be present at the festival to engage with the public. Selected artists will be notified on Aug. 1.

The application requires:

  • Artist resume or bio statement (two page maximum)
  • 2-10 art samples (image, video, and/or sound files)
  • Project proposal (a detailed description of the artistic goals and production)
  • Budget (Luminaria provides stage, electricity, and basic site needs including all specific requests)
  • Promotional image (a portrait or group photograph)

A special Artistic Advisory Committee comprised of six prominent individuals will evaluate the project proposals based on both qualitative and quantitative methods as well as overall professionalism, creativity, originality, and innovation.

Armstrong described the highly competitive selection process in which the committee will be working alongside her to select the local, national, and international works in an internal process through a series of meetings. The Committee will also have the opportunity to to invite artists as needed.

Since Luminaria 2016 will take place in the near Eastside, artists are encouraged to create site-specific genre breaking new works. Proposals will be evaluated based on their connection the festival’s footprint, with the goal of building upon the festival’s ever-changing vision.

Footprint locations include Luminaria’s anchor host partner The Carver Community Cultural Center as well as the IDEA Carver Academy, the Hays Street Bridge, and Dignowity and Lockwood parks. More locations within the footprint will be confirmed soon.

“Just on Friday we confirmed a possible location in a historic church,” Armstrong added.

Councilman Warrick (D2) has high hopes for Luminaria and the Eastside, a neighborhood with deep connections to San Antonio’s African-American community and history that struggles with crime and vacancy.

“Artists can create something not just beautiful but create something that’s unique and shows the trajectory of the Eastside,” Warrick said Monday.

Successful events like Luminaria or Síclovía started out as an idea, “in a sketch book,” he said, and in many ways, the Eastside is similar. Its future is being sketched out.

“Every part of the city has its own cultural treat and deserves to be acknowledged,” Warrick said. He hopes Luminaria continues to highlight different parts of the center city. The Southside and Westside are ripe for the opportunity. “I’m curious which is going to be next.”

Full programming for Luminaria 2016 will be announced in August.

Top image: Children play with chalk in front of a mural at MLK Academy in the Eastside during Dreamweek 2016.  Photo by Scott Ball.

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Eastside to Host Luminaria Art Festival in November

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Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a bilingual reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. She is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and holds a bachelor's in English...