Artists, vendors and a long list of electronic music performers – District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal had to cancel his performance – will grace the neighborhood for a (non-official) fiesta-esque evening. The event is not only intended to showcase local talent but to raise funds for two local nonprofits, the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and San Antonio Music Production Lab (SAMPL). Gates open at 7 p.m. between La Chapelle and Fest Streets, where South Flores (see photo above).
The Blue Star Arts Complex is mixed-use development of apartments, restaurants and bars, retail shops, artist studios, galleries and First Friday activities. About 28 years ago, Blue Star originated from the need to showcase a collection of contemporary art after the San Antonio Museum of Art cancelled an exhibit. This inaugural event drew thousands of visitors and helped launch the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center. The complex has become a focal point of events and culture in Southtown.
Half of all the proceeds raised by Surface2Art’s $10 admission tickets go to the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, the other half to SAMPL, a nonprofit geared toward educating kids about modern music creation. Founded by Ernest Gonzales, educator and Surface2Art performer, SAMPL exposes young people to the production and technological side of making music.
“(SAMPL) is important for several reasons,” said Gonzales. “As a teacher, I see students with tons of potential that just haven’t found that thing in life yet that becomes their passion.” Much like other after school programs and extracurricular activities, he said SAMPL could be that spark that gets kids involved. Their tagline says it all: “Creating Music. Remixing Lives.”
Located on South Flores, Dorćol Distillery opened for business late last year and quickly began offering their space to the San Antonio music scene. The local distillery hosted a night of abstract electronic music a few weeks ago and on Saturday will once again open its doors to the community. While Surface2Art coincidentally takes place during this year’s extended Fiesta, the fundraiser was not intended to be part of the annual events.
“We haven’t thought too much about making Surface2Art an official Fiesta event,” said Libby Day, event organizer with SATX Music, “it’s kind of nice to have it (as) an alternative to the Fiesta craziness.”
SATX Music began as a local music calendar by Louis Andrade and Kimberly Johnson. They grew over the years since their inception and began expanding their capabilities. SATX Music now provides services like booking and event management.
“We love partnering with different venues.” Day said. They aim to expand and improve the local music scene here in San Antonio for artists and other organizations.
SATX Music partnered with Dorćol Distillery to assist with their live music programming last month. From recruiting vendors to setting up a Facebook event page, SATX Music is intimately involved. But they’re not the only ones, Two Ten Beat School will be providing stage, sound and lighting equipment and the owners of Dorćol, Chris Mobley and Boyan Kalusevic, helped acquire necessities like fencing and security. Blue Star Arts and SA2020 also got involved by helping to recruit volunteers to work the entrance gates, ticket booths and info tables and assist with general set up.
[Read More: More Than Moonshine: Southtown Gets Its First Distillery.]
“There is a certain magic that happens when people get together for the right reasons,” said Abe Novy, local promoter and DJ from S.O.U.L. Family.
The list of DJs and performers includes “both (the) old guard and some of the newer crop of talented (artists),” Novy said. From Leonard Trujillo to Ghostpizza, Surface2Art performers’ live sets will include a wide variety of dance music spanning decades. SAMPL founder Ernest Gonzales, a.k.a. Mexicans with Guns, will also take to the stage.
Last September, Ernest and Diego collaborated on a 9-track release titled “Atonement.”
“I still haven’t decided what to do with my performance,” Gonzales said. “All I can say is that I am really excited to be playing some bass-heavy music in the streets of San Antonio.”
Visitors and natives alike can see a side of San Antonio that’s somewhat underrepresented this time of year. Normally the musical acts at Fiesta encompass a variety of rock bands and Spanish language heritage music. Surface2Art brings more than just electronic dance to the streets of Southtown, Surface2Art is the local music community coming together for a good cause.
*Featured/top image: This section of South Flores Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for the Surface2Art Block Party Saturday, April 19 at 7 p.m. between Lachapelle & Fest Streets. Photo by Miles Terracina.