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Arts & Culture

Luminaria to feature larger-scale projects

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Luminaria, San Anto's monster art night, is changing things up this year when the light-themed annual event will be held at HemisFair Park on March 10. What began in 2008 as a mob-fest of visual and performing art has tightened up over the years, and some have complained that the city-sponsored event has become too much of an art insider's gala. This year, in an effort to give an even break to all artists participating in the open call, six well-known arts professionals from outside SA were brought in to judge the artist proposals. Their list of over 80 selected artists was released last week. Luminaria's artistic director Richard Rosen, told Artifacts what the changes are about, and what is in store for this year's festival.

Having out-of-town judges is a standard for group shows and festivals. What's the added benefit for artists?

The artists [at Luminaria] have never been paid a huge amount of money. So the importance for an artist is to get recognition, and to have doors open in other areas. It's one thing if you are curated by a local artist, but it doesn't do much for your career. But if you are selected by someone with a national reputation it really helps your reputation, whether you are a performer or a visual artist.

Where are this year's artists from?

The artists come from across Texas; a few are from out of state, too. But most are still from San Antonio. We hope to bring in more artists from all over, it just helps the arts here.

What sort of art will we see this year?

A lot of video work. Why, I don't know. Almost everybody is using technology in some form.

There are over 60 music, theater, literary, and performance groups on the list, but only 23 media and visual artists. Why?

We asked artists to look at the park and find an area they find exciting and utilize it in the application. We have a theater artist using the playground area to create an environment. There is a lot of site-specific work that we have not had before, a lot of larger-scale projects. I think that is why there are fewer visual artists this year, because we have asked them to dream a little larger, and come up with projects that are really large-scale installations. Last year we tried to reinstitute the "wow factor" that was part of the event the first year, but people were rushing to get to the next installation because there was so much. This year we are making the signage better, so people can find the art, and the bands will have full 45- to 50-minute sets. We are also changing the hours this year, starting a bit later at 7 p.m. It wasn't dark when we started last year. This year there is so much video, so many projections on the grounds. Our theme is how art interacts with light, and we want to be sure people can see them in their best light.

This year's artists were chosen by: Dominic Walsh (Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Houston) in the Dance category; Bart Weiss (Film/Video/Screenwriting, Associate Professor & Area Coordinator, UT Arlington) in the Media Arts category; Dr. Benjamin Sáenz (Department of Creative Writing, UT El Paso) in the Literary Arts category; Rick Mitchell (Director of Performing Arts/Director of Education Programs, Houston International Festival) in the Music category, Ricky J. Martinez (New Theatre's Artistic Director, Miami) in the Theatre category, and Dean Daderko (curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston) in the Visual Arts category.

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