The gift of contemporary art is offered year-round in San Antonio, a city known for innovative artists like Julian Onderdonk, Vincent Valdez, and David Zamora Casas. But this story isn't about the bigwigs, it's about the lesser-known creators, galleries, and shows that make San Antonio's art scene so dynamic.
A few of these off-the-grid galleries offer the kind of intimate and artful experience that may finally turn you into one of those art people one reads about in books. Of course, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, and the Briscoe Western Art Museum offer tremendous art exhibitions that often garnered worldwide attention, these small and occasionally downright untraditional art galleries house some of the Alamo City’s best kept secrets.
AWAM Art Exhibition and Reading — December 7
Centrally located across from Maverick Park, Artists With A Mission Studio and Exhibition Space will present the artwork of Ric Slocum and other visual artists. The evening will also give stage time to a few writers, too, including readings from Jerry Robledo, Jose Mojikca and Brock Meier. Make it your mission to enjoy a chill environment among some of the city’s most creative individuals — both on and off the grid.
Ruiz-Healy Art Open House — December 7
Ruiz-Healy Art, which now has a location in New York City, will present an open house holiday event featuring the work of Katie Pell and the continuing Jennifer Ling Datchuk solo exhibition "Don’t Worry Be Happy." This small, upscale gallery is one of the city’s finest off-the-grid spaces. Founder Patricia Ruiz-Healy seems to always go out of her way to make sure that her guests get the rich, memorable experience she believes San Antonians deserve. Noon-3:30 pm.
201A East Olmos Dr.
Huipiles — December 7-13
Through festivals, lectures, and art exhibitions, UNAM San Antonio in Hemisfair Plaza is a goldmine of international art and culture. It's latest offering will be a photography exhibition featuring the work of professional photographer Liz Garza Williams. The show will also feature artwork by the Somerset High School’s advanced placement art students. Opening reception will take place from 6-8 pm. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9am-6pm.
600 Hemisfair Plaza Way
24th Annual Virgen de Guadalupe Exhibit — December 12 and January 6-24
Centro Cultural Aztlan, located in the heart of San Antonio’s Deco District, will once again present this annual exhibit that explores the significance of the Latin American icon La Virgen de Guadalupe. The exhibit includes Virgen de Guadalupe inspired acrylic, pastel, oil, and watercolor paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and contemporary folk art. This show will be accompanied by the centro's consistently fabulous art market which offer unique artwork, crafts and artesanía inspired by La Virgen. Traditional treats like tamales, buñuelos and the ever-decadent champurrado will also be on hand. Live music will be provided by Los Cantares de Mi Tierra. Free. December 12 opening hours will be 6-9 pm. After the holidays, the show will run January 6-24. Hours will be Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm.
1800 Fredericksburg Rd., Ste. 103
Joe Harjo: The Only Certain Way— December 13 through February 8
Digging deep into the history of the land we share, this collection of works at Sala Diaz speaks to the forced assimilation of indigenous people to Christianity. The kindness that was weaponized as a tool against natives in order to ship their beliefs is explored by local artist Joe Harjo, who is a tribal member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma. Sala Diaz will present an opening reception from 7-10 pm.
517 Stieren St.
"On Going Home by Audrey LeGalley" Opening Reception — December 13
Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery, nestled in the beautiful Beacon Hill District, has a mission statement of supporting local contemporary artists in South Texas. It functions as both a studio space for resident artists and a gallery space for monthly exhibitions. Their new exhibition, "On Going Home by Audrey LeGalley," is a new series of work that addresses themes of femininity, mental health, and homemaking. The opening reception runs from 7-10 pm on December 13, however, art lovers still have a chance to take in their outgoing show, "Kith and Kin," until December 7. By appointment only. 832-259-3530.
1704 Blanco Rd.
Holiday Market at Lone Star Art Space — December 14
December is the season to find unique gifts, so definitely jingle all the way to the Lone Star Art Space. This holiday market will be full of handmade goods and art from local, national, and international artists. This event is part of the Lone Star Second Saturday Art Walk. (Fridays shouldn’t be the only day to have all the artsy fun.)
107 Lone Star Blvd.
Merry Krampus History Gallery — December 14
Dust off your Krampus costume because the Victoria’s Black Swan Inn is hosting a pop-up gallery and seance parlor in his honor that you may never forget. In Central European folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as half-goat, half-demon. Unlike Santa, Krampus punishes children who have misbehaved. (If that made you nervous, we know where you stand with these two frosty fellas.) Learn about the legend and folklore of Krampus and celebrate the darker side of Christmastime. Free. 10am-5pm. A ticket will be needed for the associated Burton Fest and Krampus Parade. Admission for this event is $20.
1006 Holbrook Rd.
"Beyond Service: An Exhibition of Artworks by Veterans" — now through December 15
For many years, Bihl Haus Arts has created community through music, performance, and art exhibitions. In May, the gallery will celebrate its 15th anniversary with "Quin-Señora," which will feature the work of the venerable David Zamora Casas. Currently, Bihl Haus is presenting "Beyond Service: An Exhibition of Artworks by Veterans," featuring work by veterans who have served in various branches of the military during the Vietnam War and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The show’s closing reception will feature a panel discussion with Mario Lopez, the show’s organizer, Cody Vance and other invited guests. Gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 1-4 pm or by appointment. The closing reception and panel discussion will take place at 2 pm on December 15.
2803 Fredericksburg Rd.
En Honor and First Person Opening Reception — now through December 28
Celebrating the opening of two new works, Presa House Gallery will hold an opening reception on First Friday. Galileo Gonzalez’s En Honor memorializes his late family members and friends through a collection of portraits, family photographs, and installation that reflects on his personal loss. Eva Marengo Sanchez’s First Person is a continuation of the signature food paintings for which she’s famous. Through her work, the artist aims to remind her audience that one doesn’t have to be an art critic to understand or connect to the emotions that food triggers. Reception will take place from 6-11 pm. Both exhibits will be on view by appointment from December 6-28.
725 South Presa St.
"Power of Expression" Exhibition — now through January 31
Many believe that art has the power to heal. The Ecumenical Center takes that idea a step further. Located near the Medical Center, the counseling center is currently presenting its 7th Annual Art Heals Hearts exhibition, which features the work of various artists. By appointment only. 210-616-0885.
8310 Ewing Halsell Dr.
Shenanigans Winter Art Show — now through February 29
Shenanigans, an esports and gaming venue on the city’s Northwest Side, will welcome its featured artist for the season, Michael Valdez. Meet the artist behind the pieces and enjoy complimentary beverages. Stick around for a few games to get the full experience. 8 pm-midnight. Free.
5251 Timberhill, Ste. 104
UTSA’s Fall 2019 BFA Exhibition — now through December 13
The Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at San Antonio is currently featuring its Fall 2019 BFA Exhibition. These emerging artists explore the full range of traditional methods and materials before expanding into the realm of interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are, for some, challenging. UTSA Main Art Gallery is located in the Arts Building in Room 2.03.04. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am-4 pm and Saturday, 1-4 pm. Viewing may also be arranged by appointment. Closing reception 3-6 pm on December 13. For info email@example.com or 210-458-4391.
1 UTSA Circle