To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the moving arts festival with the beautiful name of Luminaria has returned to the Hemisfair Park where it started as a one-night showcase for local artists dreamed up by former mayor Phil Hardberger.
The fest has grown quite a bit since its inception. The 2017 main event takes place Friday night in the park and inside the various cultural institutions located within the Hemisfair footprint, such as the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Magik Theater, UNAM and others. All art forms will be represented, from visual installations and murals to theater, dance, music, puppetry, comedy and hybrid genres, presented by local, national and international artists – all free. On Saturday, the tone changes, with brunches, workshops, discussion groups and an all-day Art-Sci symposium which will focus on the interaction of art and science. Brunches are $35 per person and tickets for the closing party Saturday night are $55, but everything else is free.
This is an incredible opportunity to see an impressive roster of artists in a single evening and learn about art forms you may not be acquainted with. Among the 50 or so participating individuals and groups are the following: Ballet San Antonio and Flamenco A’lante (dance); Reskate graphic arts studio from Spain, San Antonians Nancy Wood, Michael Manchaca and Cruz Ortiz (with separate projects) and Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Gera Lozano, (visual arts); musical groups King Pelican, Henry Brun and the Latin Players, and R&B singer/songwriter AMEA; comedians Larry Garza and Ben Jackson; theater artist Marisela Barrera; circus artist from Seattle Esther de Monteflores and many more.
Asked what she was most excited about, Luminaria director Kathy Armstrong said that just watching artists prepare and setup their projects creates a sense of expectation and excitement. But she also mentioned a few specific developments. “I am excited that we are in our fourth year of doing murals (that remain in place after the fest), and I am pleased that we were able to include more than half of the participating artists in the Saturday daytime activities,” she noted. “Also, we are partnering again with Spare Parts (an independent nonprofit) that created a tour of six locations (different art projects) with docents on the premises to provide information about each project. It’s a good family program.”
One special attraction Friday night will be Cruz Ortiz’s “solar mural” created in collaboration with the Land Heritage Institute’s Penelope Boyer. It depicts a large butterfly during the day that lights up with stored solar energy after dark. Another glowing mural has been created by Reskate duo. In this case the image will actually change at night. And there will be a light installation on top of one of the historic houses in the park that will change the building’s façade into an altar that connects the house to its former Irish immigrant residents.
On the performing art side, Ballet San Antonio will perform a new lighthearted ballet about love; the Austin-based Proyecto Teatro will present a dance theater piece titled “Brujas,” and a group called Miniature Curiosa plans to set up a spectacle using a car, live-projecting video cameras and puppetry to tell a story of a clown who was stung by a wasp.
Aren’t you overwhelmed with choices already? You won’t be bored, that’s for sure. The Friday arts fair closes at midnight. See www.luminaria.com for more information on the Saturday events.