Angel Rodriguez-Diaz only recently completed an important commission—a 7,000-pound, 30-foot-tall, cut steel structure titled “Crossroads of Enlightenment”—for Public Art San Antonio, erected on the corner of Blanco and Basse Road.
He’s also one of the most celebrated Latino portraitists in the country. You can see his work first hand and find the artist relaxing and chatting with visitors at his art space during the 8th annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22.
Rodriguez-Diaz has been participating in the annual studio tour since its inception in 2005.
“The art tour is an opportunity for artists to display their work while interacting with the public,” he said. “There are a lot of interesting spaces that need to be nurtured and the tour allows for this.”
The On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour, “Fred” as the artists call it, is a self-guided tour of private homes, art studios and galleries of more than 65 artists, including painters, sculptors, photographers and metal smiths.
Walk through any door to any studio on the tour and prepare to be amazed, charmed and amused by what you’ll find—each space is a magical realm unto itself. Bring them all together under Fred’s nurturing umbrella, and you’re in for a very special weekend.
The 65 featured artists will be joined by more than 200 guest musicians, poets, and theater and dance groups that help make this community event the biggest neighborhood art tour in San Antonio.
“Last year, hundreds of locals and visitors walked, biked, bused and drove up and down Fredericksburg Road and meandered into the seven participating historic neighborhoods to get a first-hand look at the artists working in their studios and to purchase their art,” said Kellen McIntyre, executive director of Bihl Haus Arts, which presents the studio tour each year.
“It’s the only time of the year these art studios are open in such large numbers on one weekend,” McIntyre said. “Come with friends and plan on having brunch or a snack at one of the nearby restaurants when you’re ready to take a break, or pack a picnic lunch. You’ll get to see how artists live and work, and be able to purchase or commission work directly from them.”
Attendees are encouraged to help support the tour by purchasing a color catalog consisting of a map to help people plan their route, artists’ bios and images of their works for $10. For more information, visit www.OnandOffFred.org or call Bihl Haus Arts at (210) 383-9723.
McIntyre, who has lived in the Monticello neighborhood for the past 20 years, was a founding member of the tour. Now in its eighth year, she envisions this major art event as helping brand and bring exposure and economic growth to Fredericksburg Road.
“I want to use Fred to help bring people to the neighborhood so they can see how beautiful the homes are and enjoy the environment we live in,” she said. “I would like to see more restaurants, a bookstore and small businesses open. We’re here to enhance the neighborhood and help revitalize it.”
The Deco District has also become a magnet for many of the Alamo City’s artists. In fact, all artists participating in Fred live and/or work in the surrounding communities: Alta Vista, Beacon Hill, Jefferson, Keystone, Los Angeles Heights, Monticello Park and Woodlawn. This fact makes the Fred Studio Tour singular.
Cultural organizations have also been drawn to the area.
“The Woodlawn Theatre reopened three years ago. It’s been garnering rave reviews ever since, as has its neighbor, black-box Classic Theatre, which opened last year. Just a few blocks down the street is Jump-Start Performance Co. celebrating its first year on Fred Road. And just off Fred Road on Ashby is the celebrated 100-year-old Playhouse.
“I’m not claiming this vibrancy is solely due to the tour, but it has certainly helped make this area more art and artist friendly,” the executive director said. “This is a great place for artists to live and work. We have Woodlawn Lake, little pocket parks, wonderful architecture and a great vibe.”
Artist David Zamora Casas, who will also participate this year, believes Fred lets the public know about the thriving art community along the Fredericksburg Road corridor.
“It creates great interactions and understanding between artists and viewers, and collaborations among the artists and arts organizations in the area” he said.
For those familiar with Casas’ works, the painter will be at Jump-Start Performance Co., 710 Fredericksburg Road, showing an exhibit, “David Zamora Casas 1985 – Nuclear Meltdown 2015,” featuring a new series of smaller paintings as well as some previous work, including those from an ArtPace residency. He encourages everyone to pick up a catalog to help them get the most out of their day.
“The map and the artist bios are really helpful,” he said. “It’s a keepsake treasure, which is well-written, has great photos and is beautifully produced.”