March 31 marked the end of contemporary art month or CAM as it is colloquially referred to. The month-long citywide art event focuses on local artists and attempts to spread knowledge on the growing arts community in San Antonio by helping artists spread their art to galleries beyond the city.
CAM tweaked their usual formula by including San Antonio spaces in its programming—The Carver Cultural Center, SAMA, the Guadalupe Arts Center, Southwest School of Art, Artpace, the McNay and Blue Star Contemporary.
CAM also celebrated its most inclusive perennial by hosting an open call to artists unlike previous years; curators then chose from a list to visit exhibits, a tradition they will continue for future CAMs.
The closing of CAM also brings with it the CAMMIE awards; an evening where participating art spaces award the exhibits involved in CAM. The event also doubles as the closing reception for the Spare Parts Mini Art Museum’s new printmaking show “Fine Print,” an ant-sized art gallery.
The free family friendly event takes place at the Linda Pace Foundation’s CHRISpark in the southtown district. The winding walkways provided a perfect place for children to run and play while parents take in the exhibits inside of SPACE, the free gallery within the park. Adding to this family friendly environment was the HoneySuckle Teatime pop-up providing intricately designed milkshakes and treats for kids and the Bellion Spirits pop-up providing wine and cocktails for parents.
As the sun reached the horizon, a large crowd of eccentrically dressed audience members and their furry friends gathered near the front entrance of the park in the orange-yellow light of sunset for the award ceremony. Executive Director of Artpace Veronique Le Melle was the first to award a CAMMIE, but not before delivering a compelling, passionate speech on how Trump’s proposed budget will affect the arts. President Trump has drafted a budget plan, which would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—a $971 million cut from culture preserving institutions. This federal budget plan along with cuts to the state budget means arts funding is disappearing not only from state legislatures, but arts and education funding for school children in Texas.
Le Melle went on to deliver the Artpace award to Cinnabar for the show “Magic Time Machine” featuring Ana Fernandez and Hiromi Stringer. Blue Star Contemporary’s director Mary Heathcott awarded their award to Nathan Felix and the choir members of From Those Who Follow The Echoes for the most aurally stimulating exhibit.
The Carver Community Cultural Center’s Andrew Jordan awarded the “best spectacular pop-up” CAMMIE to Ethel Shipton for her exhibit “Vacancy.” Mark Anthony Martinez from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presented a CAMMIE to Michael Martinez’s “Lujuria” exhibit at AP Art Lab.
The McNay’s head curator Rene Barilleaux awarded fellow curator Rico Luna their CAMMIE for his show at Presa House. SAMA’s curator Susan Weaver presented their award to Christine Zuercher for her work at Clamp Light Studios.
The Southwest School of Art’s director Mary Mikel Stump presented their CAMMIE for most poetic exploration of a singular color to Jessica Halonen’s “The Blue Hour (A Clock Stopped).” The people’s choice award, voted on by the community of San Antonio, went to Jose Bali for his show at Agora entitled “Border & Bougie.”
The event ended moments before complete sunset making for a beautiful close to 2017’s contemporary art month.