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About the Contemporary at Blue Star

Mission

To inspire the creative genius in us all by nurturing artists through innovative contemporary art.

Core Values

Artist-centric | Educating | Forward-thinking | Going beyond expectations | Inclusive

History

Founded by artists and grown from a grassroots art exhibition in 1986, the Contemporary is the first and longest-running nonprofit space for contemporary art in San Antonio. The Contemporary arose from the need to provide a platform for the work and ideas of contemporary artists. In the years since its inception, its programs have grown, activating positive change in the art community and community-at-large. As an artist-centric, educational, forward-thinking, inclusive institution that strives to exceed expectations, over 18M residents and cultural tourists experience contemporary art with the Contemporary each year through our exhibitions, public art projects, and education programs.

Today, the Contemporary continues as an incubator for contemporary art, hosting more than 12 exhibitions annually within its 4 onsite galleries and multiple offsite locations within the community. Contemporary art is full of complex themes, and our exhibitions and public programs translate multifaceted ideas into age-appropriate conversations and engaging, interactive activities. Recent exhibitions have tackled the changing environment, immigration, communication, altered realities, nostalgia, family, and dictatorial governments. The artists present global perspectives that encourage understanding and empathy, which is incredibly valuable in this increasingly divisive time.

The Contemporary makes a wide-reaching impact. As a WAGE-certified organization, it advocates for fair compensation for creative work. The Contemporary reduces barriers to participating in the arts and support students, contributing to increasing high school graduation and college readiness rates. Engagement with the arts nurtures emotional intelligence and self-expression, helping people communicate, problem-solve, and support others — skills that enrich the quality of life of our entire community.

Staff

Board of Directors

  • Patty Ortiz, Chair
  • Ricky Armendaríz, Secretary
  • Patrick Attwater
  • Mark Barile
  • Charlie Biedenharn
  • Catriona Cavender
  • Grant Herbon
  • Lauren Kate Holt
  • Alissa Howard
  • Joy LeFlore, Treasurer
  • Michael Mazzei
  • Loretta McCrary
  • Lachlan Miles, Vice Chair
  • Lisa Montoya
  • Lucas Oliva
  • Jay Podjenski
  • Andrew Sherwood
  • Catharine Tarver
  • Mike Casey, Emeritus
  • Tom C. Frost III, Emeritus
  • Mark Watson III, Emeritus
  • Chuck Ramirez, In Memoriam

Advisory Council

  • Doug Cross
  • Lori Dunlap
  • Meredith Dean
  • Sarah Harte
  • Christopher C. Hill
  • Angelika Jansen
  • Sara Jessop
  • Rick Liberto
  • James Lifshutz
  • Francie Mannix
  • Guillermo Nicolás
  • Andi Rodriguez
  • Kent Rush
  • Pat Smothers
  • Penelope Speier

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the long community legacy that we are a part of. The Contemporary is located along the San Antonio River that has been at the center of life for communities that long predate us. We stand on the home of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, and we acknowledge that this is unceded land stripped through dispossession and displacement of indigenous people. We will continue to seek and understand our place within this long tradition of custodial care upon this land and river.