Since its inception 25 years ago, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center continues to fill San Antonio’s contemporary art void, gaining attention from visitors and artists around the world and a spot on San Antonio magazine’s Best of the City 2011 list. A family membership bestows a wealth of benefits to patrons, including 10% off at applicable area restaurants, 10% off Blue Star merchandise, and entrance to exclusive openings, lectures, and black-tie water-gun battles. Discover an ever-rotating and ever-innovative lineup of exhibits including Four Decades with Colour—running until mid-February—which billets more than 20 pieces by sculptor-painter Philip King. Meanwhile, Untitled showcases works by British abstract sculptor and Texas convert Philip John Evett. Form and structure reign supreme at the center, which displays an arsenal of abstract forms that guests can circle, study, and recreate with mashed potatoes during dinner.
In 2009, Linda and Greg Racino were reaping the benefits of more than two fast-paced decades in the tech industry. Something was missing, though—creativity. So in February of that year the couple left behind the cold digital world for a brightly colored studio warmed by a blazing kiln. Lining their shelves with finished and unfinished clay and glass pieces, the Racinos today deal solely in creation. They guide customers through pottery painting and glass fusing—from picking out a blank bisque piece to arranging a unique design of glass pieces. Guests can also check out the calendar of events to learn about upcoming discounts and special projects, or to find out what day it is.
When Ken Bradley, Cathy Grant, and Damian Gillen created The Company Theatre in 1993, they had one mission: to offer an live entertainment alternative to television or movies. Their lively adaptations of classic literature and popular stories have toured to theatres, schools, and churches all over Texas. No staging is too unconventional for the The Company Theatre: the troupe presents a condensed version of the complete works of Shakespeare with three fast-talking actors, and performs their production of “Charlotte’s Web” at an operating farm.
Everyone has a different vision of how their living space should look, which is why ART on 5th fills its three-level, 6,000-square-foot gallery with art to suit all tastes. Works by notable names such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Theodor Seuss Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—rub shoulders with rotating collections from some 60 lesser-known artists.
In addition to displaying fine paintings, ART on 5th offers custom-framing services, and backs each of its frames with a lifetime guarantee. The store’s artisans meticulously choose a flattering frame for each piece from more than 3,000 styles—helping artwork mesh stylistically with its destination, be it a living-room wall or an endless hall of mirrors. They eschew colored, paper mats in favor of neutral-toned, hand-wrapped linen mats, leaving some wiggle room between art and frame and imbuing each piece with richness and depth. Each frame is hung with kevlar, a bulletproof material that prevents damage caused by rusted hanging wires and showboating ’80s action-movie stars.
1020 Glass Art and Decor takes its name from its mission to provide exquisite artwork to everyday people by often pricing its handmade glass creations between $10 and $20. Behind the downtown Austin’s space-age art-deco storefront, their sales team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable designers and art experts as they amass a collection of more than 5,000 glass vases, drink sets, bowls, figurines, and chandeliers. As a locally-owned business, 1020 takes pride in its community and boosts the city’s culture scene by employing 10 highly trained in-house art consultants. They also give back through charitable functions and support of area nonprofits, such as Project Transitions’s hospice and housing care for HIV and AIDS patients. The designers even show their love for their home state through their inventory, with a number of Texas-themed pieces available for purchase, such as a majestic longhorn steer, a golden-horn wine stopper, or a miniaturized Lyle Lovett imprisoned in a crystal paperweight.