Patricia Pratchett, a former USAA executive, and Bettie Ward, a visual artist and arts advocate, served together on the 2006 Cultural Arts Collaborative for San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Arts. They were working together on the long-term goal of enriching San Antonio’s creative capital. Yet, to achieve this, they felt an important component was missing–the recognition and support of individual artists. They dreamed of an organization that would honor these artists, and together, formed the Artist Foundation of San Antonio.
A decade later, the foundation has awarded more than $627,500 to artists residing in Bexar County. This week, the foundation announced the 2015 award winners, which included 10 artists, who received $5,000 for the production of new work. An additional
Award-winning professionals serve as judges in the foundation’s award selection process, which allows for objectivity and provides larger exposure for the artists. The 2015 judge’s panel includes a producer and director for HBO; a film critic and Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center; a Los Angeles casting director; a head choreographer with the Dallas Ballet; the New York Arts Editor of “Hyperallergic;“ and an award-winning novelist and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.
The 2015 winners include:
Robert L.B. Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence and the Department for Culture & Creative Award for Media Arts
Santisteban is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker whose feature-length documentary, “Time of the Phoenix: Rainbow Coalition,” will explore the rise and fall of a multi-ethnic political movement in 1960’s Chicago comprised of African Americans, Latinos, and Southern Whites. “What began as a drive to achieve a voice for poor communities quickly grew into a formidable political movement, attracting the support of other disenfranchised groups and the attention of a threatened Chicago political machine and FBI determined to destroy it,” said Santisteban. The grant money will allow Santisteban to complete the production of his film, which Felix Padrón described as one of “meticulous research, powerful interviews, rare footage and seamless editing.” Santisteban returns to Chicago this weekend to continue his work.
Department for Culture & Creative Development Award for Literary Arts
Benavides is a writer, editor and teacher who has contributed to multiple literary journals and hosted shows for National Public Radio. She teaches English Composition and Literature at Our Lady of the Lake University. Her award supports her novel, “Pobrecito, Texas,” which contains stories on poverty, physical and mental illnesses, and broken hearts.
Rick Liberto Award for Visual Arts
Senft is a painter and sculptor who uses a wide variety of materials, including stone and gold, to combine the ancient with the contemporary. She will use her grant money to branch out into video installation.
Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Award for Costume Design
Malone is an artistic director and designer of sets and costumes. She will use her grant money towards purchasing material and designing the costumes for Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” a play that was set and written in 19th century Russia. Malone’s version will be produced by The Classic Theatre of San Antonio in February.
Department for Culture & Creative Award for Choreography
Adira is a dancer, choreographer and producer. She has over 41 years of background in dance, and specializes in flamenco with a classical background. Adira is founder and director of Arte y Pasión, a nationally renowned contemporary Spanish dance company.
Friends of Chuck Ramirez Award for Visual Arts
Renteria is a multimedia artist who uses prints, lithographs, painting and installation to deal with the themes of colonialism and globalization. Using an investigative process, Renteria researches real life events to inform his artistic process.
Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Award for Set Design
Slocum is an actor, director, set designer and educator who has been working in theater for over 40 years. He works at multiple venues throughout San Antonio. Slocum will also be using his grant money towards his involvement in Anton Chekhov’s “The Sea Gull,” produced by The Classic Theatre of San Antonio in February.
Department for Culture & Creative Development Award for Multidisciplinary Arts
Geary is a visual artist with a background in printmaking. Geary plays with idea of layers/strata, both in geography and printmaking, and works with diverse materials to combine art with science and geology. Geary also teaches at the Southwest School of Art and St. Philip’s College. She says she will use her grant money to “help strengthen and explore her sculptural works.”
Alan Beckstead Award for Music
Wickman “finds musical inspiration in non-musical forces, places and phenomena,” and has been called “a composer of facility and imagination” by The New York Times. He is Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Wickman will use his grant money to compose a 30 minute production, “Relics from the Conquest,” for the Soli Ensemble and the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio.
Department for Culture & Creative Development Award for Original Production
De León is a bilingual singer, writer and actor who shares new cultural and historical perspectives with his audience. He is currently adapting Euripedes’ “Medea,” setting the play in Mexico, in the year 1519, to help raise consciousness about contemporary issues of injustice, and to deal with themes of survival and transformation.
2016 Finalists include:
Literary Arts – Jacinto Cardona, Jenny Browne
Visual Arts – Sarah Castillo, Adriana Corral, Joe Harjo, Chris Sauter
Media Arts – Robert Gonzales
Original Production – Anna DeLuna, Carolina Quiroga
Music Composition – Federico Chavez-Blanco, Saakred Rodriguez, Edwin Stephens
Costume Design – Rick Frederick
Multidisciplinary Arts – Jose Cardenas, Seme Jatib, Mark Menjivar
*Top Image: “Rainbow Coalition” is a feature length documentary that will explore the rise and fall of a multi-ethnic political movement in 1960’s Chicago. Courtesy Image.