Beginning Sept. 6, San Antonio will host the second annual World Heritage Festival.
The citywide event is a collaborative effort to promote culture surrounding the San Antonio Missions: Mission San Jose, Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada.
The event is kicked off by “Entre La Sombra: Life Along the Missions” at Plaza de Armas Gallery.
“Entre La Sombra” showcases San Antonio’s artistic talent and portrays themes involving life, culture and people along the San Antonio missions.
Founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1718 as a way to spread Christianity to the indigenous people, the missions have had a long and compelling life.
The Spaniards who lived in the missions looked to them for hope and shelter.
The natives viewed them as an oppressive force pushing them from their home and towards assimilation.
Life here was difficult for the Spanish and the natives.
The settlers did not thrive and flourish at first, as the Spaniards struggled with food, drought and attacks from Native American tribes defending their rightful land.
The missions have endured everything the city has gone through and have seen the city evolve into the diverse and culturally rich city it is today.
The missions are an essential part of understanding San Antonio’s story and culture.
“The exhibition is designed to encourage viewers to connect and share the unique aspects of their own lives by experiencing a selection of stories about life lived along the San Antonio missions interpreted by local artists through drawings, paintings, printmaking and photography,” said Javier Flores, the assistant marketing manager for the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts of Culture.
“We hope it will strengthen the collective knowledge of who we are,” Flores elaborated.
This is especially important in a time when Hurricane Harvey, the removal of confederate statues and protests relating to immigration are testing the strength and community San Antonians share.
The exhibit will feature art from local and regional artists including Fernando Andrade, David Blancas, Joe De La Cruz, Jenelle Esparza, Dan Guerrero, Patricia Guerrero, Jacinto Guevara, Joe Lopez, Christopher Montoya, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ed Saavedra, Jose Sotelo and Allison Valdivia.
The “Entre La Sombra” exhibit has its opening reception on Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be free and open to the public through Nov. 24.While Entre La Sombra is the longest running part of the festival, there will be more events throughout the week.
Friday’s event brings light to the walls of the aged missions through a restoration of fresco art projected against the walls during the Restored by Light event at Mission Concepcion.
Saturday during the World Heritage festival also offers something to the active and music-loving attendee.
During the morning, Mission Park Pavilion will be host to the Tour de las Misiones 5k and 10k walk as well as the organized Bike Tour, which is divided into seven, 14 or 22 mile rides.
As the evening sets a different atmosphere on the mission trail, local artists and musicians move into the picture to bring Mission Pachanga to life.
Mission Pachanga, a free family-friendly event highlights the food and music of San Antonio. Chulita Vinyl Club, a local latina DJ collective will be present among electro-cumbia Grupo Frackaso and other artists.
The festival is closed out by a celebratory mass Sunday at Mission Concepcion.
All events are free and open to all ages.