San Antonio.- Rigoberto Luna worked with local photographer Amber Rodriguez on “Shadowboxers,” a photo project documenting boxer and current WBC Champion Joseph Rios and sheds light on San Fernando Gym. (Courtesy photo)
Last October, Councilman Diego Bernal and the city announced a call for artists to create installation in abandon storefronts downtown in order to help liven up San Antonio’s paltry downtown.
Now dubbed, “X Marks the Art” the goal is still to give downtown a better more welcoming look that is creative and dynamic. For some cities in America, downtown in the lifeline of the town, but in San Antonio it is mostly reserved for the homeless and tourist.
In addition, many of those who work downtown never stay longer than they need a flock back to their homes on the rim of the hill country.
This latest effort to bring the locals back to the heart of the city has produced 15 artistic installations by 22 artists across 14 vacant properties downtown.
“The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. If we can do this in enough places and it really creates a really different or improved downtown experience whether you’re just passing through, you’re there for dinner or even if you’re there for business in the evening,” Bernal told La Prensa at the start of the project.
Each installation, from Jenelle Esparza’s “Us and Them” which contains large-scale printed images of palm prints, accompanied by philosophical quotes to Zane Carroll’s that is a response to his experience as a US Soldier, is completely unique.
Another installation by Robert B. Gonzales, a hybrid of infographics and art, uses famous quotes of and about legends and gives them a graphic subversion.
“History is made up of hearsay, tall tales and legends. No state embodies this more than Texas and no other Texas city more than San Antonio.” Gonzales said.
More than the chance to share their work, X Marks the Art gives artists to make an impact and help change the culture of downtown rather that public servants and politicians.
“What’s really neat about this project is that it is one of those instigators for development. Time and time again we see artist come in and act as an activator for these issues,” said local artist Cruz Ortiz, who led Tuesday night’s Cut and Paste kickoff event and tour.
Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr. is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. He may be reached at email@example.com.