Quantcast
Courtesy The Carver Cultural Community Center

All you need is art this month in Alamo City with fresh and fearless exhibits: Some will tickle your fancy; others, your psyche. Explore JooYoung Choi’s imaginary world at The Contemporary, or immerse yourself in the history of the Mexican-American War of 1848 with representations from various artists at the Centro Cultural Aztlan. Guy Blair brings San Antonio’s unhoused population into careful focus with painted portraits at the Semmes Gallery, while the San Antonio Museum of Art transports viewers into “Roman Landscapes” providing birds-eye perspectives and fantastical views. There's something for everyone this February.

Centro Cultural Aztlan

“Segundo de Febrero: Chicana/Chicano Reunion” — Now through February 24
February 2 marks the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The landmark treaty ended the Mexican-American War, redistributed the border, and created a new bicultural population. In this exhibition, a group of celebrated artists will explore the impact of broken treaties, new borders, and their effects on Latino, Chicano, and indigenous history and culture.

The Contemporary at Blue Star

“JooYoung Choi: Songs of Resilience from the Tapestry of Faith” — February 3 through May 7
Through painting, video, sculpture, animation, music ,and installation art, multidisciplinary world-builder JooYoung Choi documents the interconnecting narratives of a highly structured, expansive, fictional land she calls the "Cosmic Womb." Her work explores issues of identity, belonging, trauma, and resilience through the sci-fi/fantasy genre. This exhibition introduces the Cosmic Womb multiverse and highlights some of its key characters and narratives. In creating a world that explores loss, healing, and growth based upon a connective web of belief and faith in oneself, Choi expresses human resiliency and the strength that can be found through the power of storytelling.

Centro de Artes

“Soy de Tejas: A Statewide Survey of Latinx Art” — February 9 through July 2
Soy de Tejas presents the works of 40 native Texan and Texas-based contemporary artists who reflect the diverse and beautiful complexity of Latinx identities. The more than 100 artworks forge new connections and explore intersections from a nexus of artists who ambitiously blaze a trail of contemporary artmaking, presenting fresh Latinx perspectives and experiences while amplifying the voices of a segment of Texas' most inspiring established and emerging artists. “The exhibit explores themes ranging from race, class, and gender to migration, mythmaking, displacement, and indigeneity," says curator Rigoberto Luna on the gallery's website. "In contrast, many works center on celebrating joyful customs, culture, and traditions that unite and sustain our communities in the face of a multitude of challenges."

Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word

“Homeless in San Antonio” — February 17 through March 17
Guy Blair is largely self-taught as an artist in the medium of pastels and watercolor. He always wanted “to do” art but was devoted to his ministry as a priest. For the past 40 years as a Catholic priest, he has ministered to both the deaf and homeless communities. In the past eight years, he has seriously paid attention to his desire to paint. This exhibit is a blending of his service to the homeless as well as his interest in art. “As we walk by homeless people on the streets of San Antonio, most people tend to look through them or judge them as perhaps deserving of the situation they are in,” Blair said in an artist statement. “This attitude allows people to build an emotional barrier, giving them permission not to connect with the homeless as destitute people whose suffering and tears are as real as our own.”

The Carver Cultural Community Center

“Alain Gakwaya"— February 23 through April 14
Alain Gakwaya hails from Rwanda and is a self-described, “activist, artist, and adventurer.” His love for art began in the 3rd grade, when his teacher requested that he draw for his entire class. Specializing in portraiture, Gakwaya paints to tell his story and the stories of his homeland. Though he's now based in San Antonio, he draws inspiration from everyday life in Africa and specifically his home country of Rwanda.

San Antonio Museum of Art

Courtesy of the Carver Cultural Community Center

Alain-Gakwaya's work is coming to the Carver Cultural Community Center this month.

“Roman Landscapes: Visions of Nature and Myth from Rome and Pompeii” — February 24 through May 21
The exhibition features 65 wall paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and cameo glass and silver vessels created in Roman Italy between 100 BC and AD 250. “Roman Landscapes” introduces visitors to the cultural and archaeological contexts of Roman landscapes, beginning with mural paintings and relief sculptures that depict coastal villas and rustic shrines. These works display the imaginary aspects of Roman images of the natural world, connecting the genre’s appearance to the political and social upheaval of the late Republic and early Empire. Fantastical views of Egypt and Greece reflect ancient fascination with these celebrated lands incorporated into the Roman Empire. Mythological paintings then reveal landscape scenes as settings for hazardous encounters between humans and the gods.

Courtesy of Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word

6 San Antonio exhibits to enthrall and delight the senses this month

State of the Arts

Jump into January and Alamo City’s jubilant art scene with six diverse and dynamic shows. Catch the final days of the celebration of “la Virgen de Guadalupe” at the Centro Cultural Aztlan, or journey with artist Maverick Pascal into mental health, self-reflection, and healing with his show at the Carver. From images of red peppers at Semmes Gallery representing strong Latina women, to an exploration of color at the McNay, there are treasures to discover in the city’s galleries, museums, and art spaces once you take the plunge.

Centro Cultural Aztlan

“Celebracion a la Virgen de Guadalupe” — Now through January 20
Every year, Centro Cultural Aztlan produces an annual “Celebracion a la Virgen de Guadalupe.” The event explores this icon's significance in the Latin American community, where in December of 1531 she first appeared in Mexico, speaking in the native tongue of the Aztecs. Visitors can experience this “phenomenon” through a visual narrative showcasing a myriad of artistic representations by some of San Antonio’s most noted artists. This exhibition is one of the oldest and most reverend featuring La Virgen de Guadalupe as the main theme and includes a special art installation by nationally recognized floral designer, Henry De Leon.

The McNay

“The Art of Color” — Now through June 1
The McNay has taken a cross section of artwork from their permanent collection and organized it by color. Through three galleries, explore works of art with warm, monochromatic, and cool colors. This installation encourages close up observations and introspections, and serves as an introduction to the variety of objects in the McNay’s Collection.

Carver Community Cultural Center

“Maverick Pascal: MAVP365” — January 5 through February 17
Maverick Pascal is a multidisciplinary artist who uses his work to highlight self-reflection and mental health as a personal journey. His inspiration comes from different parts of his trauma, lessons from his healing, or learning from the journeys of others. The geometrical fragments and broken pieces used in his work draw inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken objects are mended with gold to become more beautiful. In 2020, he dedicated himself to creating at least one piece a day for the entire year, hence the name of this show, MAVP365. He started with sketches and then expanded back into charcoal on paper, acrylic paint on canvas, and digital works. On this journey, he came upon the realization that he was progressively connecting with his inner child.

Sala Diaz

“Kim Bishop: Threads & After Shocks” — January 6 through 28
According to Carl Jung, we live in the entanglement of the past, present and future; a collective consciousness he called “a sympathy for all things.” Jung inspired Kim Bishop who draws with her grandmother’s thread (literally and metaphorically), the continuous line of her path, as she journeys through a world that seems familiar but is not. The drawings and drawing processes in this exhibition are a way for Bishop to navigate the social condition of her time in her constant endeavor to measure the standards that determine her worth. “My imagery focuses on the entanglement of body, time and movement which carries a universal theme of quantum remembrance and the repetition of the physical world that I live in today,” Bishop says in her artist statement.

Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word

“Elizabeth Rodriguez: Las Mera Meras" — January 15 through February 10
Las Mera Meras is a painting of a group of red peppers reflected on a shiny maple tabletop, serious, tough, and unified. Las Mera Meras is a symbolic portrait representing strong Latina women as observed by the artist at a café downtown she frequented. Elizabeth Rodriguez began her career as a self-taught artist in oil painting and later apprenticed with other artists.

Courtesy of Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word

Las mera_meras by Elizabeth Rodriguez at Semmes Gallery

UTSA Main Art Gallery

“Refined Reflections into the Formidable: Contemporary Latino Art from the Zoe Diaz Collection” — January 27 through March 11
This exhibition features twenty artists whose works span a broad range of approaches in exquisite large-scale and intimate paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed-media sculptures regarding themes of power and pride in cultural legacies, spirituality, family, and everyday life.

Courtesy Presa House Gallery

6 unique ways to savor the arts in San Antonio this November

State of the Arts

San Antonio’s museums, galleries, and even gardens are providing ample opportunities to soak up the arts this month in a multitude of ways, from 10-foot-tall works on wood from Andy Villarreal celebrating the Mayan culture (and a few aliens,) to stark black-and-white photos from Duncan Ganley capturing the city of London under COVID-19 lockdown. Meanwhile, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood’s vital feminist textile art redefines weaving and painting at Ruiz-Healy, and the San Antonio Botanical Gardens give us an excuse to kick off the holiday season with Lightscape, their second annual light display and celebration.

Bihl Haus Arts
“Galactic Mayan Warriors: Andy Villarreal” — Now through November 19

Andy Villarreal’s love of Mayan culture started about 20 years ago when he took a trip to Mexico. “My work is inspired by the Meso-American culture from the Yucatan,” Villarreal says. “It celebrates the history, rituals, the people and their ways of life. My work also deals with the past, present, and future. Aliens and flying saucers are also present.” Besides UFO’s, Villarreal, who teaches at the University of the Incarnate Word, includes warriors, kings, pyramids, jaguars, and other important icons, featuring numerous 8-foot and 10-foot-tall works on wood along with some smaller silk screen prints. He believes the Meso-American culture is often overlooked in art and that he should pay tribute to his own ancestors.

Presa House Gallery
"Born to Ride the Edge of Nothing” — Now through November 26

“Born to Ride the Edge of Nothing” brings together former University of Arizona colleagues Aaron S. Coleman and Alejandro Macias. Both artists present new multidisciplinary works reflecting on political and social issues in line with their individual experiences and a broader national conversation. The exhibition fuses their work in a singular dialogue touching on matters of race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, multinationalism, faith, and place.

The Michael and Noémi Neidorff Art Gallery
“Duncan Ganley: Inventory of Empty Streets” — Now through December 10

UK photographer Duncan Ganley documented every street inside central London’s Congestion Charge Zone during the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020. Each photograph, shot identically, presents a view of a cityscape void of people, cars and congestion, capturing the shuttered retail and entertainment hub of London’s West End, the unpopulated residential roads north and south of the River Thames, and the eerily empty global financial center of the City of London. Ganley provides a photographic typology of the lockdown and explores the dissonance between the cinematic reading of the image and the very real anxieties during the pandemic.

McNay Art Museum
“True Believers: Benny Andrews & Deborah Roberts” — Now through January 22, 2023

True Believers is the first exhibition to examine the formal and thematic overlaps in the work of two artists separated by a generation: Benny Andrews (1930–2006) and Deborah Roberts (born 1962). The exhibition was forged through deep connections between the artists’ mutual use of collage and choice of subject matter. The exhibition’s title was inspired by both artists’ emphasis on the role of Black Americans in society, as well as art’s capacity for social change. Each artist has a distinct voice and a unique approach to collage. Both Andrews and Roberts draw viewer attention to the individual portrayed by placing subjects on stark backgrounds, and they also merge collage with painting to render powerful and heartfelt narratives.

Ruiz-Healy
“Consuelo Jimenez Underwood: One Nation Underground” — Now through January 28, 2023

Redefining the practice of weaving, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood works with repurposed barbed wire, yellow caution tape, safety pins, and plastic bags and crosses Indigenous, Chicana, European, and Euro-American art practices. Jimenez Underwood uses her unique tri-cultural perspective as a Chicana Indigenous American in her work, interweaving themes and imagery that reflect and revisit social memories. In 2022, the artist was awarded the Latinx Artist Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind initiative recognizing 15 of the most compelling Latinx visual artists working in the United States today.

San Antonio Botanical Garden
"Lightscape” — November 11 through January 8, 2023

San Antonio’s newest holiday tradition, Lightscape, is set to dazzle for a second year with thousands of twinkling lights and festive displays. The outdoor illuminated trail includes enchanting new installations in addition to well-loved favorites set to seasonal music along a 1-mile path through the Garden. The dazzling illuminations will include installations unique to Texas created by local and international artists. Favorites like the Winter Cathedral will return alongside reimagined installations, including Fire Garden and an even more spectacular display of Bluebonnets, an installation only seen in Texas. Visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy festive food and drinks, including roasting s’mores.

Courtesy Presa House Gallery

An exhibit by Aaron S. Coleman and Alejandro Macias is at Presa House Gallery this month.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Sneak peek inside San Antonio chef Steve McHugh's new Austin restaurant

Officially cured

Bucking the recent (and growing) trend of Austinites moving to San Antonio, chef Steve McHugh just debuted his first concept in Austin. The eagerly-awaited Luminaire opened February 1 at the new Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin, along with a second concept, Las Bis.

Located at 721 Congress Avenue, details of the new hotel and its restaurants were released in fall 2022, sparking excitement from anyone already familiar with McHugh's work at Cured and Landrace. For the initial announcement, CultureMap connected with the six-time James Beard finalist to hear what to expect at the new outpost, while an updated announcement this week revealed that McHugh has enlisted chef Greg Driver as executive chef at the new concepts.

“We’re thrilled to finally lift the curtain and bring in guests to dine with us,” says Chef Steve McHugh in a release. “Chef Driver and I work really well together, and I have no doubt that Luminaire and Las Bis will shine under his leadership.”

Previously the interim executive chef at Austin's Westwood Country Club, Driver will carry out McHugh's vision at the restaurants. Both new concepts and the hotel itself will no doubt be a welcome addition to downtown Austin, padding out the list of pre- and post-theatre dining options for entertainment at the city's historic Paramount and State theatres next door.

Luminaire occupies the entire ground floor of the hotel, including an expansive patio stretching both sides of the corner along Congress Avenue and 8th Street. Much like its San Antonio counterparts, the full-service restaurant will feature the seasonal, local Texas fare and charcuterie well-known (and well-loved) by McHugh devotees. Along with specially curated meat boards (hello, 24-month jamon), the menu will also showcase a heavy Spanish influence, featuring a variety of delicious breakfast empanadas, chicken a la plancha, the Angus beef Luminaire burger, and more.

The all-day restaurant will be an ideal pre-curtain-time destination, while the upstairs Las Bis will take over for post-show nightcaps. Located on the eighth floor of the hotel, the terrace bar and lounge shares space with the hotel’s lobby and will feature craft cocktails, natural and biodynamic wines. Snacks will include an assortment of playfully plated conservas, both domestic and imported, which McHugh shared the story behind in our previous coverage.

“Our team put many thoughtful hours into the menu creation for Luminaire and Las Bis, blending familiar flavors with plenty of discovery,” says McHugh in this week's latest release. “And for those without much experience in cured meats and conservas, we made sure to include plenty of must-try items to introduce folks the right way.”

In addition to the two new concepts, McHugh’s team and executive chef Driver will provide room service for guests, as well as catering for the hotel’s four meeting and event spaces. Starting February 1, Luminaire will be open Monday through Sunday from 6 am to 11 pm, while Las Bis will open Sunday through Thursday, 4 pm to midnight, and noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Photo by Mary Whitten

A sneak peak at Luminaire.

Historic San Antonio venue chugs ahead with new owners and all-day music festival

JUST THE TICKET

Music will soon be back in the air at one of San Antonio's most historic venues. Ambassador Theatre Group, the company behind the Majestic and Empire Theatres, has taken over The Espee in St. Paul's Square and is celebrating with an all-day music festival.

The move is the latest chapter for the Spanish Mission Revival complex, built in 1902 by the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 2019, a development group redubbed the site The Espee as a nod to the former train route's abbreviation, "The SP." 2021 saw the depot transformed into the swanky 1902 Nightclub.

Ambassador has gussied up the venue with enhanced sound and lighting, renovated artist accommodations, a tour production office, satellite bar areas, landscaping, and refreshed restrooms. The improvements gel with St. Paul Square's vision of bringing more entertainment and nightlife to the district without compromising its history or architecture.

Guests can check out the revamped space during All Aboard on March 4, a daylong party featuring The Head and The Heart, Danielle Ponder, Grupo Fantasma, UPSAHL, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Mike and The Moonpies, and DJ sets from Bartees Strange. Doors open at 2:30 pm, with performances starting at 3 pm.

Tickets are on sale now and partially benefit local nonprofit San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE), which champions investments that improve the quality of life for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and businesses in the area.

The show is only the first experience the revived venue is set to deliver. "Vicious" hitmaker Sabrina Carpenter is set to bring her Emails I Can't Send Tour to the Espee on March 25. The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum will hold its Fiesta Family Blues festival on April 28. More programming will be announced throughout the year.

"The Espee is the perfect addition to San Antonio's growing entertainment landscape – from venues and musical performances to community gatherings and everything in between," said Emily Smith, Ambassador general manager, via a release. "This unique, beautiful, and historic space will bring even more creative experiences to San Antonio for the entire community to enjoy."



10 spots to rustle up a meal during the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

Stock Up

And we’re off. San Antonians have barely had the chance to catch up on post-holiday emails before filling up the calendar again with annual traditions. The first, of course, is the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the nearly month-long celebration of mutton bustin’, live music, and fried food.

The latter holds a particular fascination — and it’s sacrilege to suggest that rodeo revelers shouldn’t sample a rattlesnake corndog, bacon bomber, or a deep-fried Snickers. But let’s face it, giving a little bit of uh uh during the Nelly set takes more than empty carbs.

What to do? Build a foundation by eating a proper meal at a nearby or on-premise restaurant. Consider this a pregame plan for putting more yeehaw into your visit. Fuel up for a long day of fun, then let’r buck.

Cherrity Bar
Take advantage of this eatery’s rambling patio on sunny days to share Japanese street food like gyoza, yakitori, and crunchy karaage. Snuggle up inside during a cold snap with a bountiful bowl of ramen. The tonkotsu always hits with a generous slice of pork belly. Then there’s the umami slap of the tantanmen. Whichever way you go, start with an Old Fashioned for that preshow oomph.

Con Huevos
It’s almost impossible for newcomers to break into the local taco pantheon. However, owner Hugo Garcia was more than fit for the task (yes, 2019 still counts as "new" in the city’s taco game). Traditional fillings like picadillo and carne guisada have uncommon zip, and the flour tortillas perfectly seesaw between the fluff and chef. And should one down too many Bud Lights during a rodeo jaunt, there’s no better restorative than fideo loco.

The Dakota
Food aside, this East Side icehouse is as snug as an old sweatshirt. That alone makes it a welcome respite before being dazzled by carnival lights. But it also dishes out solid comfort food like pizza, tacos, and loaded fries. Yes, that’s the type of bar food one craves with a pint. The Dakota does it one better, mixing shishito peppers with kielbasa and spooning Wagyu chili on a Frito pie.

Dignowity Meats
This is Texas, dagnabbit, and we like our burnt ends. Perhaps that’s why this East Side shack throws them in any dish imaginable. The beefy bits crown a baked potato loaded with sharp mac ‘n’ cheese and anchor a melt with the unexpected crunch of sliced pear. They festoon corn chips and potato rolls and can be munched alone by purists. That’s probably enough, but we haven’t gotten to the must-try hot chicken.

The Frontier Club
Don’t miss a minute of the action by grabbing a bite at this on-site restaurant, conveniently located in the Hall of Fame breezeway. Though it is open to the public for weekday lunch, spring for a membership to enjoy the raucous honky-tonk nights. It’s $100 and benefits the Junior Livestock Auction and the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Scholarship Fund. Three real ones can be invited as guests.

The Magpie
The little bistro that could paused in January for a refresh, so there’s no word yet on what menu chef Jŭngsūk “Sue” Kim has dreamed up for its return. Past hits have included luscious lamb ragu, chili-flecked pork belly, and airy milk bread. Expect the same mix of European and Asian flavors served during the February bookings — paired with one of the city’s most captivating wine lists.

Surtierra Cantina
There’s not much information available about this new food court attraction. But it will serve Surtierra Tequila, the San Antonio Rodeo’s official libation. That’s good enough.

Sweet Yams
Bring a little balance to your rodeo diet by lunching at this health-minded spot. From veggie po’boys to blackened salmon, the menu has plenty of giddy up — though it is hard to resist the gooey three-cheese mac. Even that is gluten-free, and the sides are both decadent and vegan. A little lightness is a blessing before a spin on the Zipper.

Tucker’s Kozy Korner
Nudie suits, patchwork poly shirts, and fuchsia Rocky Mountain jeans. This East Side staple has probably seen it all. Trapped in midcentury amber and with an impeccably curated jukebox, it’s the perfect time warp hangout before seeing a nostalgia act like Bret Michaels or Ronnie Milsap. Pan-Asian treats like brisket eggrolls, pork dumplings, and bún bowls are relatively new but take nothing away from the retro glamor.

Van de Wall Fajita Corral
Hundreds of volunteers dish out tons of steak, chicken, and brisket tacos at this long-running attraction adjacent to the food court, all in service of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Inc. Scholarship Fund. Plus, there's ribs! Yes, Belinda Carlisle, heaven is a place on earth.