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Fall Back To The Arts In San Antonio

Fall means art is in full season for San Antonio. Celebrating everything from the traditions of Día de los Muertos to the most modern interpretations, San Antonio’s arts shine a spotlight on the city’s colorful cultural heritage.

September brings the month-long FOTOSEPTIEMBRE USA, a showcase of original photography at restaurants, galleries and other venues across the city. Exhibits highlight photographic art in all its forms, including traditional, digital, documentary and creative. Such exhibits include:
  • Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, the first and longest-running venue for contemporary art in San Antonio, showcases an exhibition featuring the works of Chuck Ramirez, Rodolfo Choperena, Carlos Betancourt and Debra Sugerman. The exhibit opens September 1.
  • The San Antonio Museum of Art, within the reclaimed historic Lone Star Brewery, features Animal Instinct: The Photographs of Daniel Lee on September 3 – February 19. Lee’s work uses digital technology to create hybrids of human beings and animals, portraying the idea that people often exhibit behavioral, personality and physical characteristics which resemble those of animals.
  • The River of No Return exhibit by respected photographer Laura McPhee is a series of 6-by-8 foot photographs of the land and people of rural Idaho. Displayed at the Southwest School of Art on September 1 – November 1, this body of work explores a community’s ideas about land use and human interchange with the natural world.

Just in time for the fall and winter holidays, the McNay Art Museum – the home of medieval and Renaissance art; the only public collection of its kind in South Texas – will house artifacts and sets used in the making of Tim Burton’s stop-action film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. This exhibit runs September 14 – January 1 in the museum’s Tobin Collection of Theatre. Additional exhibits of interest at the McNay are The Orient Expressed: Japan’s Influence on Western Art, 1854 – 1918, Cassatt and the Orient: Japan’s Influence on Printmaking and Art + Present: Gifts from the Peter Nortan Family, all open October 5 – January 15.

Jazz’SAlive is a two-day outdoor festival celebrating Jazz. Held this year on September 24 – 25 in downtown San Antonio, this free concert at Travis Park features both local musicians and jazz legends. Attendance in previous years has reached 80,000, so visitors should stake out a spot early. The International Accordion Festival, October 7 – 9 at the historic arts village of La Villita, features local, regional and global musicians presenting genres ranging from polka to merengue. This free festival is guaranteed to make attendees want to dance during a variety of performances, workshops and jam sessions.

San Antonio’s Houston Street
comes alive on October 8 with a street-level gallery of chalk masterpieces. Artpace’s Chalk It Up is a free, family-friendly event where San Antonio’s premier artists transform city sidewalks into colorful exhibits. Visitors can help complete a super-sized street mural or roll up their sleeves and make a work of their own at the Freestyle Section. Una Noche de La Gloria: Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone on October 8 at Avenida Plaza Guadalupe celebrates independent artists and performers and features of contemporary music, film and literature performance art.

Gallery Week at SAY Sí, an organization dedicated to creating a premier, dynamic and nurturing educational environment for San Antonio’s artistic youth, brings together outstanding San Antonio galleries to raise funds for SAY Si and promote the sale of artwork to support the galleries and their artists. Participants in Gallery Week, which runs October 14 – 20, include Anarte, Gallery Nord, Gallery Ortiz, Hunt Gallery, Joan Grona Gallery, Parchman Stremmel Gallery and REM.

The Shops at La Cantera Art Festival, October 21 – 23, is a free event featuring 100 local, national and international artists. Visitors can immerse in the finest hand-crafted art, available in all price ranges. After dark, twinkling lights transform the festival into an enchanted village. Día de los Muertos is an ancient regional tradition that commemorates loved ones on November 2 with processions, elaborately decorated altars adorned with marigolds, sugar skulls and brightly colored figurines called calacas. Exhibits are citywide.

For 17 years, thousands have gathered annually for the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, November 27 - December 3. A weeklong series of classes and competitions, culminating in Saturday night’s massive concert at the newly renovated Lila Cockrell Theatre, makes this event the largest and longest-running of its kind. The extravaganza includes a mariachi-inspired art exhibit and serenades by students at the historic River Walk. For more information, visit their website at
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