Put Fiesta Arts Fair On Your List

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Medal Love. Fiesta Arts Fair 2015. Photo by Page Graham.

After 43 years, Fiesta Arts Fair at the Southwest School of Art (SSA) is still consistently rated as a favorite among Fiesta-goers, young and old. This year’s fair will take place on Saturday, April 16, 10 am – 6 pm and Sunday, April 17, 11 am – 5 pm. Typically 12,000 people attend this event each year, so you are likely to run into a few people you know.

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Kings Anchovy LI, Michael Bobo and Wayne Beers at Fiesta Arts Fair 2015. Photo by Page Graham.

Barbara Hill and the rest of the SSA staff and volunteers work hard to keep the quality and the fun factor high. This year there will be more than 110 artists from across the country working in a variety of media. The show is juried and competitive, so the quality of the work shown is always top-notch. I had the pleasure of serving as a juror for the 2015 event and also exhibited there a few moons back, so take it from someone who knows. This year’s awards will be presented on Saturday, 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.

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SOLI @ 20: Simply Spectacular

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SOLI Ensemble takes a bow during a lengthy standing ovation at Gallery Nord.

PAST, the opening of SOLI Chamber Ensemble‘s 20th anniversary season, was our first adventure with the group – and definitely not the last. The event was hosted by Carina and Hans Gors at their beautiful contemporary art space, Gallery Nord, and it was an evening to remember.  An intimate group of about 50 enjoyed a presentation of world-class proportions in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The night began with a casual discussion of the music to be presented by the quartet. No quotes here, but let us just say that we have rarely encountered such a verbose group of artists. And this was a refreshing treat. It allowed us an eloquent glimpse of personality and passion prior to the performance.

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Talking Art at the SAMA: Soody Sharifi

Soody Sharifi and David Rubin - San Antonio Museum of Art

Soody Sharifi and David Rubin – San Antonio Museum of Art

Fascinating discussion with Soody Sharifi on Tuesday evening, moderated by Curator of Contemporary Art, David Rubin. Sharifi is an Iranian-born, Houston-based artist, and her work is part of the exhibition The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition, at the museum through August 11. Her magnificent digitally composed photographs were among the nearly 200 submissions competing for the coveted £25,000 prize awarded by an international panel of independent jurists and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition has been on tour internationally since 2011, and SAMA is the last of only 3 stops made in the US. This discussion covered not only the work featured in the exhibit, but her journey and exploration as an artist over the past 30 or more years.

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Texas Tough: Amita Bhatt – Depends Who You Ask

Amita tells her tale.

Amita tells her tale.

A group of individuals gathers for an informal “Black Box” lunch at Blue Star. What next?

First up: Amita Bhatt.  Initially, the paper rustling and chip crunching was a little distracting – not for long.

As Amita tentatively launched into her story you were carried away, as if by Scheherezade. We were surrounded by her 9′ x 12′ drawings  – charcoal on rough canvas. Humble materials and unforgiving media relating a complex and quizzical view of the world. She described the scene in Mumbai of the early 90’s.  She found herself in the middle of the worst violence the country had seen since the partition of India, involved with the mafia and one of the most deadly men in the country.  To say the least, it was a difficult time and she was nearly killed twice. In an attempt to escape this violence she moved to the US in 1994. And this is where the search for meaning began to unfold.

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“Fresh Art First” Summer Concert Series at ARTPACE: JUNE 28

Frest Art First

The FREST ART FIRST Summer Concert Series kicks off tonight, 8:30 – 11:00. This is the first in a series of 3 concerts that Artpace will host this summer on the rooftop at 445 N. Main Avenue.  DJs JJ Lopez and Chris Galvan from KRTU will be spinning an “innovative mix of soul and funk,” so get your boogie shoes on and come out to enjoy the fun and support the arts in San Antonio!

And yes, I just said boogie shoes.

The tariff  for this shindig is $15 at the door.  But here’s the skinny:  Purchase an annual Artpace membership and you and a guest enter FOR FREE. Also, if you are a member in good standing of KRTU Jazz 91.7 you may also enter FOR FREE. What a deal. I am so feelin’ the love, and you should too!

Yummy summer munchies provided by Artpace Alliance vendor King’s Court Frankfurter Express. These will go down so easy with complimentary beverages generously provided by Blue Moon and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Oh, and the dogs are seriously good eating. Not being nice. Don’t have to say this. Seriously.

So, you’re waiting for what?  If you miss this go-round, just don’t miss the next one….

Blue Star Contemporary: Black Box Lunch Series – June 19, 2013

Several times a year, Blue Star hosts the Black Box Lunch Series, an opportunity to meet exhibiting artists and discuss their work.  I attended my first featuring Amita Bhatt and Sharon Kopriva, two of the four artists from “Texas Tough,” running through August 24th.  What a great concept, once you get past the crunching of chips.  To be honest, those in attendance were so quickly engrossed by the life story that Amita was relating, actually trying to eat became an afterthought.

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All eyes on Amita…..

We started in the back gallery with Amita’s work surrounding, engulfing us. Tables were set up in a large square configuration with a few more rows of chairs to round out seating for the group.  Elizabeth Lyons, programming and marketing wiz at BSC, graciously welcomed all.  A very different vibe from the typical auditorium and podium set up.  It lent a certain intimacy once the ice was broken and we got started.

When Amita’s presentation ended, we followed Sharon to the main gallery, into the veritable maw of her work spanning 30 years.  As we trailed her through the gallery, she led us through her very imposing body of sculptures and paintings with a grace and self-effacing humor that was completely disarming.  The hour allotted for the conversation flew by in the blink of an eye.

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We’re walking…..

I’ll not go into further detail here, and save the individual artist impressions for additional entries.  I would like to encourage immersing oneself in conversations such as these whenever possible.  We attended the opening of the exhibition which was a wonderful evening, but the individual point of view that can be gained from listening to an artist’s story is of immeasurable value – a price beyond rubies!

Click here to view photos from the opening reception.

The next Black Box Lunch is scheduled for July 24 with the remaining “Texas Tough” gals, Jill Bedgood and Sherry Owens.  For more information visit bluestarart.org

Summer Concert Series: Best Kept Secret in Southtown

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Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats

Music lovers know. San Antonio is a great town for music. One of the best kept secrets of the summer outdoor concert season is this series hosted by the King William Association on the cool, lush banks of the San Antonio River fronting the offices at the San Antonio River Authority, 100 E. Guenther Street.

Since the fund’s inception in 2000, over $300,000 in grants and scholarships have been awarded by this outstanding community organization. These concerts are but one of the many ways that the King William Association gives back to the people of San Antonio. Everyone is invited to this free event.

This intimate, leafy-green venue is perfect on a late Sunday afternoon. Shady, and usually with a cool breeze, concert-goers bring picnic baskets to share a light repast and a cool drink with friends and family, young and old. Since May, audiences have enjoyed local favorites Katchie Cartwright, Henry Brun, The Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats, and Olivia Chacon Flamenco Dancers. Beginning at 6:30, the concerts are about an hour long, perhaps a bit more allowing for the inevitable encores. A perfect and relaxing finish to any long weekend.

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Olivia Chacon Flamenco Dancers

There are two more fantastic opportunities to get in on the fun this summer. On July 7, the Austin Piazzolla Quintet will perform. Described as “tango at its best,” this group plays in the Nuevo Tango tradition, specializing in the works of great Argentine Composer, Astor Piazzolla. The season comes to a close on July 21, with Daniel Monserrat. With more Tango and Salsa, this Argentinian has a vibrant local following, promising to end the 2013 season with a flourish!

Click here to view more photos from the flamenco concert.
Click here to view more photos from the jazz concert.