Blue Star: Cutting Edge Contemporary Art

You don’t need a Ph.D. to enjoy contemporary art.  Viewing it is a process that needs to be experienced in order to be appreciated, according to Blue Star Contemporary Art Center’s Zinnia Dunis Salcedo.

“There is not really a right or wrong answer when viewing our art.  Everyone walks away with a different experience.  Just participate,” she says.

As the center’s program director of nearly four years, Salcedo is an established member of Blue Star’s small, but passionate staff.  Her position requires planning events two to four years in advance while also coordinating the gallery’s public relations and marketing efforts.

Blue Star’s eclectic Southtown Arts District location has successfully enticed guests for more than 20 years, evolving out of a renovated 1920s warehouse along the San Antonio River.  Blue Star features the work of more than 20 cutting edge local and international contemporary artists annually by drawing visitors into its four distinct gallery spaces.

“Blue Star was created to fill a niche for contemporary artists in San Antonio because there wasn’t really anything like it here,” says San Antonio artist Chris Sauter.  “It’s a pillar in the community and because Blue Star is so big and has such a draw, there are a lot of artist-run spaces in the complex now and those artist-run spaces can be successful because of the draw of Blue Star.”

Sauter’s art is influenced by the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made.  His installations involve the transformation of common objects or architectural elements into other recognizable forms.

The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center is just one of several adapted warehouse buildings in the Blue Star Arts Complex which fosters arts-oriented developments such as loft/studio apartments, galleries, retail shops, and performance spaces in the area.  This allows independent artists to function in conjunction with the Blue Star organization rather than becoming overshadowed by it.

“More and more, the art world is becoming decentralized,” Salcedo points out.  “Technology is allowing the art ‘hubs’—New York, Paris, London—to spread more rapidly.”  Contemporary art is benefiting from this trend.  Artists may become successful with widespread acclaim without relocating from their home communities.

Anyone may submit an exhibition proposal to Blue Star for consideration, whether to break into the San Antonio art scene or as an experienced professional seeking further exposure.

However, you don’t need to be an artist or even art connoisseur to get involved.  Blue Star is free to the public and even offers educational and community outreach programs through its ARTsmart initiative.

Kandace Collins, Critical Mass, 2008 (Blue Star Contemporary Art Center)

Matthew Boonstra, Manufacturing Sympathies, 2009 (Blue Star Contemporary Art Center)

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