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March is Contemporary Art Month and there are visual arts shows all over the city. But today, I would like to draw your attention to what’s going on at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. After refusing to host the CAM Perennial exhibit as planned due to “the lack of diversity” among the artists selected by Denver guest curator Laurie Britton Newell, it looked like the venerable West Side center may be left without a CAM contribution. That’s definitely not the case. Not one but four exhibits will be opening soon, three of them this weekend. Under the umbrella title Multiples, this art bounty will be on display at the Galeria Guadalupe, 723 S. Brazos. GCAC’s visual art director Mark Anthony Martinez admits that serendipity and necessity helped shape Multiples, but he also points out that all selected groups “are in some way highlighting an aspect of identity and at that, identities that typically fall outside of mainstream historical/museum representation.”

One of the groups is the Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association, better known as GAGA, a women’s art organization which has grown by leaps and bounds since it was founded by Sylvia Benitez in 2011. Its show, Honoring Women, brings together more than 45 San Antonio area artists who have all chosen to depict a woman they admire from history, myth or literature.

I have seen a number of entries and I can tell you that the range and variety of images will keep you curious and interested. Among the chosen subjects are the goddess Artemis, artist Frida Kahlo, labor organizer Emma Tenayuca, pioneering scientist Marie Curie, singing legend Ella Fitzgerald, the Virgin Mary, Florence Nightingale, writer Virginia Woolf and many more. One person chose to depict GAGA founder Benitez, herself a talented painter and leader. All images are rendered on 12”x36” panels. Among the exhibiting artists are Carolina Flores, Lyn Belisle, Carla Veliz, Lesta Frank, Ana Montoya, Jennifer Polnazsek, Diane Masuda, Maggie Morawietz and, of course, Benitez. GAGA also invited several prominent poets to contribute a poem for the show’s catalog, including former poet Laureate of San Antonio Carmen Tafolla and one of the current nominees for the same title Carol Coffee Reposa.

Not as much information was available about the other groups included in Multiples.
I spoke briefly with Kim Bishop who, with her husband Luis Valderas runs 3rd Space Art Gallery in the Lone Star Art District. It’s a place for local artists to “explore fresh ideas.”  Bishop explained that artists get to use the space for three weeks free of charge to develop whatever project they want, and some 30 artists have already done so. Such generosity should be recognized. For Multiples, 3rd Space has curated an exhibit featuring 12 artists hailing from different cities and a few foreign countries. Titled Walking on the Moon, the exhibit explores “conversations about changes – location, movement and consequence.” “We are ecstatic to be in (Multiples),” said Bishop.

Yet another space in the building has been taken over by independent curators Kristin Gamez and Mari Hernandez who put together Novela: Arte y Drama, featuring 11 artists inspired by Spanish telenovelas which are known for storylines sizzling with conflict and drama. I can easily see how artists could have fun with those themes. The fourth group, Color of Blind, will join Multiples on April 8.

Now you know where you need to be this weekend! Opening reception is Friday from 6-9 p.m. Exhibits will run through May 20.

To see the CAM calendar go to www.contemporaryartmonth.com