The new San Antonio Center for Visual Arts, a fine arts training facility, will open on Saturday with programs that will provide a multitude of opportunities for workforce development on the Westside. The new facility is an extension of Alamo Colleges’ Westside Education & Training Center and in partnership with the Westside Development Corporation (WDC) and Edgewood Independent School District (EISD).
The center will offer visual arts workforce training that is available to EISD students, established artists on the Westside, and artists throughout the San Antonio and its surrounding areas. Of the various programs that will be offered, three stand out as particularly significant.
La Printería is a printmaking studio where students can learn the ropes in printmaking, graphic design, screen printing, flat stock, and other paper art forms, as well as the business side of art. In a Monday phone interview, La Printería Executive Director and Founder Harvey Mireles told the Rivard Report that the program will educate people in a discipline that, despite being one of the world’s oldest art forms, doesn’t get a lot of attention.
“Printmaking is a part of world history,” Mireles said. “People will enjoy the skill that it takes to develop as a printmaking artist. It also allows artists to make multiples of their work, which creates an opportunity for those in the community who couldn’t afford an artist’s original print.”
The new 6,000 sq. ft. community gallery will showcase works of both established and emerging artists. Leonard Rodriguez, WDC president and CEO, told the Rivard Report that the gallery has the potential to be a one-of-a-kind institution for the Westside.
“The gallery could very well be the largest collection of art in the Edgewood neighborhood,” Rodriguez said. “It would compete with every other contemporary art gallery in San Antonio.”
Mireles added that the gallery would be a resource for the community.
“We expect to have all types of functions in that space,” he explained. “We also expect to have the best art shows in the city. We expect around 600 school kids to take part and about 100 local artists to take up studio space throughout the year.”
San Antonio Motion Picture Film Academy
The third, and possibly biggest draw to the center, is the San Antonio Motion Picture Film Academy, which will train students in the various technical roles that are a part of filmmaking. The classes will be taught by working industry professionals, who will focus on crew positions in sound, camera work, grips, electrical work, and more.
WDC Chief Operating Officer Jocelyn Van Coney told the Rivard Report that the film academy will build up talent to fill a need in the local filmmaking community.
“The film academy addresses a workforce shortage,” she said. “There are talented people who live here who want to make films, but there are no jobs here so they go other places, so we saw a need. This will further impact the community economically.”
Van Coney added that the students who participated in recent San Antonio Motion Picture Film Academy PA Bootcamps would fit into the training very quickly.
In developing the center, Rodriguez said that there was a special focus on tying together economic development with workforce training and educational pathways.
“Alamo Colleges (have) been here for 10 years,” Rodriguez said. “They provide educational pathways to the Westside community. Over time, they have become more aware of the need to expand cultural arts programming.”
The Westside Education & Training Center launch – which is free and open to the public – will take place on , Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in an event called Noche Buena, where more than 50 local artists will exhibit and sell their work. There also will be a display of pews, salvaged from the torn down Jerusalem Presbyterian Church, painted by some of the participating artists. Proceeds from art sales will go to the artists, scholarships provided by the WDC, and La Printería programming.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the event will take place on Friday, when it takes place on Saturday.
Top image: A painted pew that will be on display at the launch of the San Antonio Center for Visual Arts. Photo courtesy of the Westside Development Corporation.