A new exhibition featuring community poems and artwork crafted in tribute to the history of San Antonio is on display now through April 26 at the Culture Commons Gallery.
Presented by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture and curated by the city's poet laureate, Jenny Browne, “St. Anthony’s Lost & Found” is inspired by St. Anthony de Padua, the patron saint of lost things, and San Antonio’s namesake.
It features the works of several local poets and visual artists including Albert Alvarez, Fernando Andrade, Lisette Chavez, Juan Zavala Castro, Joe De La Cruz, Barbara Felix, Ana Fernandez, Xavier Gilmore, Joe Harjo, M. Guadalupe Marmolejo, Abraham Mojica, Kristy Perez, Jose Sotelo, Hiromi Stringer, Allison Valdivia, and Jose Villalobos.
Anchoring the exhibition is 500 postcards submitted by San Antonio residents. Whittled down from 1,200, each postcard includes an elegiac (letter poem) with answers two key questions: “What have we lost?” and “What have we found?"
“I think the best poems are conversations with both the self and the world. I'm thrilled with how this project has expanded that larger poetic conversation, enabling me to connect so many individual San Antonio voices to our collective one,” Browne said in a release.
“It gives voice to where we come from, some of what we have lost and found along the way, and where we imagine ourselves going from here,” she added. Browne, along with poets Rose Catacalos and John Phillip Santos, also examines this question as part of a printed chapbook that accompanies the exhibition.
The multi-faceted project, which runs as part of San Antonio’s Tricentennial, began in 2017 with a poetry exchange at workshops and other programs throughout the city. In addition to viewing the artists' cards, visitors can interact with the art by writing and exchanging their own poems. Browne hopes it inspires connection and communication to the land, people, and culture of San Antonio.