2016 Luminaria prepares to light up East Side

District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick prepares for the eighth annual Luminaria, taking place on the East Side of San Antonio. The event will shed light on the district and artists ready to showcase their talent. (Photo, Christina Acosta)

Luminaria is ready to add a touch of glow to the East Side this year with the help of art, keeping artists and art enthusiasts at their feet to expect the best.


On Tuesday morning, District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick and Luminaria Executive Director Kathy Armstrong were proud to announce that the eighth annual Luminaria Festival will take place from Wednesday Nov.9 to Saturday, Nov. 12 at The Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N Hackberry, and Hays Street Bridge, 803 N Cherry St. Both could not contain their excitement about how the event will introduce what the East Side has to offer.


The free event will feature mural unveilings at Nolan Street Underpass and along Cherry Street. Visual artists will have open studios and houses, hands-on workshops in ceramics, martial arts and African drumming, a family art quest and a closing party. Jose Borrego, who will be one of the artists with his “The Tres Artistas” mobile art exhibit, was also in attendance for the announcement and described the contemporary arts festival as “a strength to the community.”


“When former Mayor Phil Hardberger created Luminaria here in San Antonio, he made sure that it grew to the status that it is now,” stated Borrego. “Not only do we want to showcase art or arte, and the light it brings to the community, but we want to show the landscape of the city and who we are.”


Since Luminaria’s debut in 2008, over 3,000 artists have participated. The festival has displayed more than 1,200 visual arts installations, showcased over 900 performances and received 1 million people, according to its website. Councilman Warrick assured everyone that this is an event that goes beyond the paintings, sculptures and ceramics.


Luminaria invites different types of artists who wish to perform music, theater and even poetry and showcase their talent. This year, the Luminaria line-up has become refined with the help of a diverse amount of artists.


Art enthusiasts who are interested in the performing arts will have the opportunity to watch the beauty of dance with performances by Ballet San Antonio, as well as the cutting-edge modern choreography of Monterrey-based experimental dance troupe Cuerpo Etéreo.


For those who love music, Luminaria will bring in a variety of music styles, whether hip hop or African. Joel Laviolette and Rattletree will premiere new music integrated with dynamic video projection mapping, taking audience members on a journey exploring the music of Zimbabwe’s Shona tribe. Local band Mexican Step Grandfather will brings his edgy, critically acclaimed DJ/hip-hop set to new ears during the festival.


Audiences will also have the opportunity to be enlightened with writing verses from The Hays Bridge Poets that include Co-Founder of the Blah Poetry Spot Christopher “Rooster” Martinez; Local Writer and Poet Don Mathis; three-time San Antonio Grand Slam Poetry Champion Anthony “The Poet” Flores; and 2015 PuroSlam Grand Slam Poetry Champion of San Antonio Darrell Pittman (aka Da Green Lantern).


Holographic prints by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ray Santisteban salute the Zoot Suit era and eight easel-mounted portraits by neorealist painter Kaldric Dow will honor women and men from San Antonio’s historically-black East Side.


Ultimately, Luminaria will not only welcome different forms of arts onto the big stage, it will give festival-goers the opportunity to see what the East Side district has to offer, shedding light to the up-and-coming district.


“I want to tell and show San Antonio that this is not your grandma’s East Side anymore,” stated Councilman Warrick. “There are a lot of changes that have happened in the last 5-10 years including the newest restaurants, hottest places to hang out and future art scene in San Antonio that many have been missing out on. [The East Side] has a dynamic community here. Thanks to artists, they have brought in growth and prosperity, and we want to keep them here.”


If you are interested in attending Luminaria, please visit www.luminariasa.org for more information.