Contemporary Art Month kicked off at Blue Star Contemporary during the First Friday art walk with a festive opening reception and performances. Offering a full slate of events throughout March at various venues, the monthlong celebration — popularly known as CAM — will culminate with closing ceremonies at the Space C7 gallery on Mar. 27.
Space C7 participated in its first CAM on March 14, 2020, the day before the city shut down in the face of the advancing coronavirus pandemic. The gallery laid low while CAM navigated COVID-19 restrictions through March 2021 with a mix of virtual and outdoor live performances.
In seeking a venue for CAM’s culminating event, CAM Executive Director and co-chair Nina Hassele realized that the large outdoor space attached to Space C7 presented an ideal and safe spot to gather.
“it’s a great location to host something and also promote a new gallery space, which is what Contemporary Art Month is all about,” Hassele said.
She approached gallery co-manager Jeff Wheeler, who also manages the nearby Echo Bridge concert venue on the San Antonio River. Wheeler suggested tying in the Mar. 27 performance of Austin-based artist-musician Jad Fair with the CAM closing, and the evening concert will wrap up the monthlong celebration.
The closing reception, at 2450 Roosevelt Avenue, will include the annual CAMMIE awards, which recognize exemplary Contemporary Art Month-related artists, exhibitions and events. Hassele said food trucks, beverages, and live music will be on hand.
Fair is a prolific artist on multiple fronts. Along with drawings and projections of past artwork, beginning with an opening reception Mar. 12 at Space C7, he’ll show 100 intricate, whimsical paper cutouts, an art form that grew out of Fair’s album cover designs for his solo music and the records released by his band Half Japanese, which formed in 1975 and has put out 30 albums.
As a solo artist, Fair said he encounters few creative restraints, and put out 150 records in the past year alone, beginning with Every Night I Have The Same Dream released Jan. 1, 2021, and ending with Thank You released on Dec. 24.
Asked if he remembers all of the thousands of songs he’s written, he said, “Oh, I just keep pushing forward.”
For the Echo Bridge show, Fair will be accompanied by an acoustic guitarist and a percussionist. He said he feels the setup will work well with the reverberant acoustics of the outdoor space, which positions musicians on one side of the river and the audience on the other side.
“I’m so happy that this is happening,” he said, “because it was originally scheduled to happen about a year and a half ago.”
Reflecting on finally having a chance to participate in a less restricted version of Contemporary Art Month, Wheeler said, “As we ease back into hosting events, I will always be on the lookout for ways to collaborate with local galleries and institutions.”
He promised that Space C7 programming will continue to focus on “presenting Texas contemporary art to the community in a serious but laid-back manner that matches life on the South Side.”
Details on the full calendar of CAM events, including the two CAM Perennial flagship exhibitions curated by North Texas curator Lauren Cross, are available on the organization’s website. Most events are free.