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Best Bookstore

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
Food security conference to take on SA's food deserts

Food security conference to take on SA's food deserts

News: Our state ranks next to last in food security, meaning that in 2010 over 4 million Texans experienced outright hunger or ditched healthy food for cheap... By Michael Barajas 5/9/2012
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013

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Arts & Culture


Art is (Not) Dead: How to not starve as a San Antonio artist

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

The beleaguered French and Michigan gallery space in Beacon Hill

Photo: , License: N/A

So the current-landscape career catch-22 is this: Once a local artist’s career really picks up steam, there’s nowhere to go but lateral, maybe half-steps upward, or else leave town. There’s a void in the middle space, with hardly any jumping-off points between emerging-artist platforms and the kind of professional, mid-career institutions that lead to a bigger profile and, importantly, income. Our professional development and regional/national outreach blows.

I don’t want to bring you down—positive things are happening. On January 6, SAHearts and the City’s Department of Culture & Creative Development, headed by Felix Padron, made a presentation to the Cultural Arts Board, the PDF iteration of which, “Staff Proposed Arts Funding Guideline Revisions,” lays out a civic plan of engagement. The report draws from the SA2020 survey results, analyzes trends in San Antonio art culture (apparently they’ve noticed that “local artists are increasingly engaging in community development and recognized as key to the creative economy”) and proposes higher budget numbers for San Antonio-residing art makers, collaborations and nonprofit organizations participating in creating “a unique work or series specifically created by the artist(s) in order to engage community access and engagement with the arts.” The Department of Culture & Creative Development proposal encourages the use of non-traditional spaces, covers all genres of artistic output and, most hearteningly, proposes grant amounts up to $10,000.

But the public infrastructure, as crucial as it is, isn’t the same thing as a commercial art market and sales to collectors, universities or museums.

I feel semi-crappy even writing this is; after all, what are vulgar mercantilist concerns to a true artist? Isn’t the joy of expression enough? Don’t artists exist outside the realm of money-grubbing? Also, with commerce comes plenty of backbiting, the myriad collateral damages of competition, high stakes for little substance and even conceptual homogenization based on what sells. I went to an enormous art fair in Los Angeles last year that felt a little like Costco, and that was dispiriting. But while too much blatant collector-courting and careerism is a farce, too little is a catastrophe.

Rendered grouchy by these concerns, I scanned the horizon for new galleries, searching for emmerging trajectories. The good news is, they’re out there. I hope enough of them will stay solvent and mature into robust artist-run project spaces, generative collaborations, innovative experiments in moneymaking and even viable commercial galleries.

If you’re an artist, you should put these gallerists and their projects on your radar. If you’re interested in the art scene, check out the projects promoted by these peeps during CAM next month. And if you want to open a commercial gallery, a project space or join in a curatorial collective, pay special attention to the following lessons gleaned from your fellow hopefuls:

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