The Luminaria Festival returns to Hemisfair on Saturday with works from dozens of artists


Luminaria Executive Director Yadhira Lozano has spent a lot of time this year paying close attention to large events in person to gauge people’s comfort levels.

She was encouraged by the turnout.

“La Fiesta was probably the first big festival that really tested the waters and of course it was June it was ridiculously hot and people came out,” said Lozano, who became executive director of the annual festival. of the arts in December. “They were, like, I don’t care if it’s 1,000 degrees, I’m going to go.

“It’s San Antonio. We want to be there. We want to feel the drumbeat in our chest.

Lozano is delighted to be able to compel Luminaria enthusiasts to personally celebrate the city’s artistic community. The 13th edition of the festival will spotlight the works of 45 star artists, most of whom are based in San Antonio. It includes cinema, music, theater, poetry, dance and the visual arts. Everything happens in Hemisfair.

It is the first Luminaria since 2019; it was suspended last year due to the pandemic.

What: Annual Multidisciplinary Arts Festival

When: 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Or: Hemisfair, 434 S. Alamo.

Admission: To free.

Food and drink: Food will be available for purchase from 11 vendors: Uncle Danny’s BBQ, Krazy Kettle Korn, Deadly Sweet Maid Café, A Little Taste of Heaven on a Stick, Maui Mike’s, Backwoods Grilled Cheeses, Blithe Creamery, Cova’s Rolling Kitchen, Mediterranean Turkish Grill, Fiesta Food, Uncle Danny’s BBQ and Blue Hole Sandwiches. Vendors will accept cash or credit cards.

COVID measures: Most of Luminaria is outdoors. Masks are optional but encouraged in the gallery inside the Palais des Congrès.

It gives him a different feeling, said actor Jesse Borrego, Honorary President, who has participated and assisted in recent years.

“La cultura cura – culture heals,” Borrego said. “The strength and healing energy of San Antonio is that our art and culture is very healing for us as a community. I think we need it right now.

This is the first Luminaria that Lozano supervises. She became executive director in December, following Kathy Armstrong, who led her for five years.

COVID-19 remains in the mix, and with that in mind, Lozano had originally planned to broadcast live from one of the stages. She ditched that idea after seeing the crowds for other events and hearing comments from Luminaria stakeholders and the public.

“Everyone said, ‘We’re done with Zoom. We don’t want to sit in front of the computer, ”she said. “Luminaria brings you the artists, so you can interact with the artists whose work you’re looking at. Part of the magic of Luminaria – the fact that you keep walking around, making a new discovery around every corner.

Here is an overview of some of these discoveries to discover:

Tribute to the artist “Blood In Blood Out”

It was important for Borrego to pay tribute to San Antonio artist Adán Hernandez, who died in May. Hernandez was best known for the illustrations he created for the cult movie “Blood In Blood Out”.

Borrego and Hernandez became close friends while they were working on the film. The actor played an artist and Hernandez created the paintings shown on the screen.

“We’re going to bring out some of the important ‘Blood In Blood Out’ pieces that the family still has,” Borrego said. “Young emerging artists will see where their legacy could go. “

The exhibition will include “La Muerte de Juanito”, a large-scale painting that has never been exhibited before. A smaller version of the work was destroyed in the film.

Ryan Takaba is one of the artists participating in Luminaria. A video documenting “A Relationship with Flight”, an installation he created at Blue Star Contemporary, will be screened at the festival.

Kin Man Hui / San Antonio Express-News

The 1993 film is a touchstone for many. Borrego suspects fans will have an emotional response to seeing the paintings in the film up close.

“There is going to be a moment of solemnity and ‘Oh my God he’s not here anymore,’” he said. “There’s going to be a feeling of healing. I think that’s also why it’s important, because as we come out of this darkness now, seeing the light, being able to go through these losses together should be a great experience.

Where to find it: In the art gallery inside the Convention Center.

Jillian Sortore and Carlos Perez

Collaborators and friends Jillian Sortore and Carlos Perez have pride of place in Luminaria, near one of the entrances.

“They will be one of the first rooms you walk through and around when entering the festival,” Sortore said. “No pressure.”

Sortore and Perez have teamed up to create an installation composed of illuminated pyramids. The idea came from a series that Perez did years ago that he called “The Moon Diaries”.

“It’s a series of miniature drawings that I was doing that was kind of taking on an object and turning it into some kind of person,” Perez said. “So Jill really liked the ‘The Moon Diaries’ project so we decided to take it a step further and see if we could turn them into sculptures.”

Sortore and Perez became quick friends when they met as students at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas 20 years ago. The pyramids mark their first collaboration since Perez and his partner moved to San Antonio around the start of the pandemic.

Luminaria returns to Hemisfair for its first release since 2019.

Luminaria returns to Hemisfair for its first release since 2019.

Billy Calzada / Team Photographer

“The pandemic has kind of exhausted us all,” Sortore said. “And I think it gave us the energy to feel a part of the community.”

Where to find it: Near the Nueva Street entrance to the Alamo Street exit.

Ryan takaba

Ryan Takaba’s contribution to Luminaria is the final chapter of “A Relationship with Flight,” an installation he created for Blue Star Contemporary last fall. He worked with filmmakers Angela and Mark Walley to create a film documenting the installation.

The artwork featured three objects – a kite, a parachute, and an ash-dusted balloon – which have changed over time. For example, the kite was made of flowers on a wooden frame, and as the flowers dried, the room changed shape.

The viewer has become the fourth element of the installation. Depending on the speed or amount of movement of the viewer, the airflow moved, causing individual objects to move and sometimes interact with each other.

“The viewer might only catch a small part of this experience, and it could have been different for everyone,” Takaba said.

The video allows those who missed the show to experience it. It also gives Takaba a more complete idea of ​​how the installation works.

“I got to see what happened, which was good,” he said, adding that the documentary is all that is left. “It’s the only way I can show the piece unless I do it again.”

Where to find it: The film will be shown in a loop with other videos on the film’s stage on the west bank of the Riverwalk under the Convention Center Bridge.

DeAnna Brown

Brown’s performance is a bit of a taste of “The Rays,” a movie she plans to shoot right after Thanksgiving. She received a $ 6,000 grant from the Luminaria Artist Foundation for the project, which she initially envisioned as a play.

“I didn’t have the budget to do a live performance,” she said. “The Luminaria grant will cover the shoot and then we can show it to a live studio audience, rather than filming in front of one.”

In both film and her show Luminaria, she plays the flamboyant Granny Ray, a woman who is always looking for talent for her family’s video production studio. During the live show, she will have three artists from San Antonio – J-Darius, Miss Lulu Q and Brandon Seay – in the audience and have them take the stage to show what they can do.

“I didn’t want to do a single act of our movie, because I think it’s boring,” she said. “We are outside. I want music. I have amazing singers, and they’re all local artists here in San Antonio. What we can do is provide them with a platform as well. I am so excited about this part.

Brown started dating Luminaria very early on and still remembers a play from the premiere she went to: “It was that light installation. I felt like a bug with a light bulb – I was just attracted, I was addicted.

Luminaria will present a tribute to the late artist Adán Hernandez (left), pictured in his studio in 1991 with

Luminaria will pay tribute to the late artist Adán Hernandez (left), pictured in his studio in 1991 with “Blood In Blood Out” star Jesse Borrego. The actor is honorary president of this year’s festival.

Jesse Borrego /

When she learned that she could showcase her own work this year in a project that also highlights other artists, she was excited: “I was like a little kid jumping up and down.

Where to find it: 7:45 p.m. on the Market Street stage in Merida Plaza at the Riverwalk level of the convention center. | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR


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