Luminaria: A Weekend of Light, Art & Community in the Alamo City

by Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo on November 4, 2019 in Entertainment, Art, Film, Music, San Antonio,

Art is more than just taking paints to a canvas, putting notes to music or taking pen to paper.

It truly is about opening up a portal to another place and time. It is like an instant time machine that can bring another world to your doorstep. Since I can remember, the arts have always surrounded me in some form or fashion and still are very much a part of my daily outlet. Growing up, I thought most homes had rooms filled with endless art supplies, fabrics and instruments to create whatever my heart desired.

We all dream of being able to experience the worldly aspects of art culture we read and hear about, but sometimes it isn’t in the cards. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have the opportunity to experience that magic in your own backyard, especially here in the Lone Star State.

Artists Lori Hepner and Kendra Ross of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will explore Intersection*ology with an experimental light performance. Courtesy photo

The artisans in the Alamo City are making sure that the historical cultural scene of San Antonio is embracing the arts and beyond each year with the Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival. Since its founding in 2008, it remains the only free and open to the public multi-arts festival nationally that strives to connect, promote and provide access to the arts.

Over the course of two days (November 9-10) the Alamo City will host over 50 artists of all medias that will transform the Hemisfair into a cosmos of culture, arts and more. This is a perfect weekend getaway that will make you feel like you’re walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC or being mesmerized by the artistic beauty of the walls that adorn the Paris Louvre without having to break the bank or take an extended vacation.

Whether you’re a patron of the arts or emerging onto the scene, Luminaria hosts so many must-sees during the course of the weekend festival. For those interested in film, you can enjoy screenings on the San Antonio River at their pop-up movie theater which hosts works from local filmmakers alongside works by the Cine Festival and San Antonio Film Festival.

Pioneer Winter Collective, whose theatre and dance routines explore the beauty of vulnerability and humanness through the unexpected, will be coming from Miami to perform at this year’s Luminaria. Courtesy photo

If groove is in your heart and all you want to do is dance, while witnessing an avant guard production, then head over to the stage at the Mexican Cultural Institute which will host invigorating dance performances by Pioneer Winter Collective or rock out to a punk musical by Amalia Ortiz.

It is never too early to introduce your family to art and Luminaria hosts several events that will spark the fire at any age. It’s one thing to be able to see the art but being able to emerge and be a part of an actual artistic display is something else. Luminaria prides itself on being an interactive arts installation. Be a part of the art and stop by the interactive tech like the Kaleidoscope Delight and Scenescome.

Each year, Luminaria brings over 20,000 visitors and locals downtown featuring installations from San Antonio, national and international artists. Photo courtesy Gonzales

Luminaria Executive Director Kathy Armstrong and her talented team of artistic curators truly find new ways each year to tap into new realms of the artistic community and bring them to life across five stages. What could be more illuminating than a festival that truly takes a city and transforms it into many forms of art media using every inch from the historic buildings to the streets to create a labyrinth of art?

It is a rarity to be able to emerge yourself and truly get to taste all the different forms of art in one place. And even rarer for this to be in the context of free and family-friendly for all ages. If you’re looking to try something new even for the lover of arts you will find it in some form or fashion during this year’s Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival.

Free and open to the public, San Antonio’s Luminaria runs November 9-10.


Cover photo courtesy Mike Farquhar

San Antonio-based Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a veteran SEC sports journalist and lifestyle columnist. A Brown University graduate, she loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at misskentuckyus2011@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @Misskyus2011