The local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, Awesome SA, awarded a $1,000 grant to photographer Sarah Brooke Lyons for her 1005 Faces project last night during an award ceremony at Alamo Street Eat Bar.
The photo series is composed of simple, black and white, profiles of local artists, advocates, professionals young and old, community leaders, and truly anyone that wants to participate – in an effort to showcase the creative minds of San Antonio.
Lyons said the Awesome SA grant money, which the Rivard Report is a sponsor, will be used to buy supplies to create public art out of the photos; wheat paste to adhere the printed photos to buildings or boards and possibly a more elaborate, projected art installation at next year's Luminaria public art celebration.
"It's important that it's not just downtown," she said, the goal is to highlight San Antonio and its talent as a whole to the entire city, not just one area. "There are a lot of places that are densely populated, but there's no art there."
So far, Lyons has collected 525 unique San Antonio faces via photo sessions held at homes, local businesses, and private parties. Most recently, Whole Foods hosted a 1005 Faces session to accompany a wine and cheese tasting event.
"Venues have contacted me to collaborate, I've been very lucky to have their support," Lyons said. "I like to be at places (that are) doing cool things."
Lyons also made an appearance with her camera and lighting gear at the City's first Center City Open House downtown in May.
"It's been wonderful to have the opportunity to talk to each person I photograph – everyone has an interesting story," Lyons said. "What they write on their sign has depth and meaning to them."
Moving forward, she said, she'll be focusing on subcultures and communities underrepresented in her collection so far.
"Wounded warriors, punk rockers, immigrants, refugees ... I think I have enough hipsters," she said, half-joking.
She also has a wish-list of specific community leaders. District One Councilman Diego Bernal was crossed off that list on Monday during a photo session.
She's planning a trip to Rackspace Hosting and will organize more selective photo sessions soon.
It was a close competition last night, the Awesome SA board and trustees receive between 8 and 15 applicants ("awesome ideas") a month and select 4-5 finalists.
Grow Food Not Lawns, to encourage sustainable gardening instead of water-intensive lawns; Create SA, to take 360 degree panoramic photos of places famous and/or common in San Antonio; wabiStory App, digital/audio placemaking via curated storytelling; and another application for a Little Library in an inner-city park all made their pitches to the audience.
Ultimately, however, it's the clarity and awesomeness of their submitted proposals from which the board makes their final decision. This is the eighth Awesome SA award, all runners-up were encouraged to apply again.
As the sun sets and the two dozen people gathered for the awards dissolved into the regular clientele of the food truck park, I ride home past the scandalously closed Texas Highway Patrol Museum – its large windows replaced with particle board and a smattering of event flyers. 1005 Faces (or at least a few faces) might soon liven up this intersection of South Alamo and North St. Mary's, Lyons said.
That would be awesome.