The 2020 Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival has been canceled as the impact of the novel coronavirus continues to roil San Antonio’s economy and the health of its residents.

Citing concerns over health risks and safety of artists and attendees, Luminaria Director Kathy Armstrong told the Rivard Report that canceling the festival was “the smart thing to do.”

“This is just a really uncertain time right now with the health pandemic and its economic impact,” Armstrong said. “Usually I have a ‘we are going to make this work’ attitude … but with so many challenges all at once it is unattainable.”

Scheduled to take place on Nov. 14 at Hemisfair, San Antonio’s only contemporary arts festival was already set to be smaller than in years before, with fewer artists. Board Chair Eric Rodríguez said, “The sad reality is that health and safety concerns will continue to exist in the community, and we expect that we will continue to experience the related social anxiety associated with convening in large gatherings.”

While the cancellation is “disappointing,” Armstrong said her hope is that Luminaria staff and artists seeking to participate in the event are living in a moment where people are “learning to enjoy arts in a different fashion” as more art is being made available online, including museum tours and musical performances.

“There is a whole wide world that is new and different now, and this gives us a chance to step back and look toward designing the 2021 fest that considers that new world,” Armstrong said.

Even though the festival will not happen as planned, the call for artist entries will remain open until April 20, and all proposals received from artists this year will be saved for next year.

“We appreciate the time and effort that it took for artists who have already applied and we will be in touch with them about their options,” Armstrong said.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the Rivard Report.