Photo Gallery: CAM Kickoff Party

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Contemporary Art Month (CAM) 30 is off to the races. It was a bone-chillingly cold night, but somehow the natives shrugged off the cold and came out to immerse themselves in the great vibe of art unleashed.

The plan for most of us was unspoken, but the hive mind was in sync. In addition to the formal Kickoff Party for CAM 2015 at The Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, there were gallery openings all over town, with very good reports in the chattering crowd at Ruiz-Healy Art for opening exhibitions at Parchman Stremmel Galleries, Hunt Gallery and AnArte Gallery. It seems everyone was out in force from every corner of the community.

What’s going on for the rest of the weekend? Check it out here.

By the time we arrived at Blue Star Arts Complex, the party was in full swing, each and every gallery filled with animated conversations. More than anything – in addition to creating a city-wide art happening – CAM is a real opportunity for old friends and new to connect in meaningful and heartfelt ways. It’s like a giant reunion that none of us had to suffer through high school to get to. One of the first people we ran into was the newly crowned Miss CAM Antonio 2015, Amanda Bianchi, getting her art freak on.

Amanda Bianchi, Miss CAM Antonio 2015. Photo by Page Graham.

Amanda Bianchi, Miss CAM Antonio 2015. Photo by Page Graham.

Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum was the focal point of the evening, as it has been since the very beginning. The opening reception for “Back From Berlin” was a smashing success, featuring the work of Ricky Armendariz, Cathy Cunningham-Little, Vincent Valdez and Karen Mahaffy. These artists represent the inaugural group of artists participating in the Blue Star Contemporary Museum Berlin Residency Program. Each artist spent three months living and working in Berlin from July 2013 to June 2014. The installation, guest-curated by Dr. Anjelika Jansen, was visually stunning. The artist work, all in large scale, perfectly suited to the space.

(Read More: Back from Berlin Exhibit Opens Thursday)

As the galleries and exhibition spaces closed down, one by one, everyone drifted over to the serious partying portion of the evening at Brick Marketplace. Artists Chris Sauter and Mark Menjivar collaborated to turn the cavernous space into an interactive art happening. Putting overhead projectors to use (previously used in Sauter’s “Saint Apophenia” installation for Luminaria 2013), they employed printed graphic transparencies to explode images onto the muslin drapes creating a central labyrinth that the crowd was encouraged to interact and play with.

Dancing got into full swing at the CAM After Party. Photo by Page Graham.

Dancing got into full swing at the CAM 2015 After Party. Photo by Page Graham.

Once things got warmed up, the dance floor was crowded with revelers of all ages, the beats of the evening laid down by DJs Agosto Cuellar and Bonnie Cisneros. For some, it was their virgin voyage at a CAM happening, while others had been there from CAM immemorial. Throughout the evening Robert and Carol Tatum kept the doors open to their wonderful lair of Tatum Originals. It was nice to be able to step out of the party and into Tatum’s corner where his perspective and eye comfort, pokes and prods us with his standard issue irreverence and skill.

All in all, a successful evening that left us drained and exhausted, but not empty. Remember, no rest for the weary (or the wicked, as the case may be). This goes on all month long.

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