By Alma Linda Manzanares
The university will extend the exhibition length for“Contemporary Latino Art: El Corazón de San Antonio,” at the Educational & Cultural Arts Center, located at 101 S. Santa Rosa Ave., through Sept. 26.
Marilu Reyna, associate vice president for university communications and special projects, said many visitors expressed a desire for the exhibition to remain open. The exhibition was originally scheduled to close Aug. 31.
“There was nothing official but very much the consensus of some of the people we’ve been working with in the community, Market Square and (El Mercado) Zona Cultural that still wanted it open,” she said.
The exhibition opened May 9 and showcases 112 works of art from 79 local Latino artists, centering on the people, places and things closest to the heart.
“For future exhibitions we hope to bring in artists from all over the world, such as Mexico and Spain, that can help promote Latino art, but the first thing we wanted to do was promote our local artists,” Reyna said. “We received a very positive response from the local art community because we were doing this. ‘It had been a long time coming’ is what we heard.”
The exhibition highlights the vibrancy and diversity of Latino art in San Antonio, a press release said, while presenting an interactive education approach to develop personal connections between visitors and art.
From June 1-Sept. 17, the exhibition brought in 8,125 visitors, curious about San Antonio’s historical contributions to Latino art, Alicia Viera, director of cultural programs, said.
Viera said although the exhibition opened May 9, visitor counts did not start until June, and group tours were not included in the count.
Although Latino culture is well-known to San Antonians, the exhibition helps the many visitors and tourists who frequent Market Square, where the cultural arts center is located, learn about the city’s Latino community, Reyna said.
“We’ve had people from all over the country visit the exhibition. We have a guestbook with people from Canada, Mexico and the Midwest,” she said.
To have a place that captures the art and culture of a community is priceless, Reyna said.
Visitors’ presence can still be seen throughout the exhibition’s gallery walls.
“It’s very visible,” Viera said. “It’s not a traditional kind of exhibition that people leave and you never know what is happening in the galleries. We invite visitors to join the artists.”
One way to immerse visitors includes placing heart stickers next to the artwork that resonates most with them.
“The exhibition is called ‘El Corazón,’ which means heart in Spanish and everything relates to the people, places and things closest to the heart,” she said.
Piles of pink, yellow and blue sticky notes decorate three walls that ask visitors to write notes, recalling the person dearest to their heart, the place they call home and the thing they cannot live without.
Viera said some visitors recorded their opinions on video, with an iPad, instead of writing notes.
Since its opening, four educational panels were held at the center to promote Latino art and history to the community.
A large variety of artistic mediums, including woodwork, oil on canvas, acrylic, mosaics, metal work and other styles, are on display in the gallery.
The exhibition is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
The university’s second exhibition is scheduled to open Oct. 24 in collaboration with the San Antonio Museum of Art, focusing on people and culture.
In 2015, the center will host an exhibition to compliment a conference based on Spanish and Mexican borderlands and another on food and culture in art.