Within the confines of a former Hudson automobile dealership, anything is possible, and that's the way Linda Pace wanted it. Pace opened the doors to Artpace with the intent to nurture artists' "freedom to dream," and engage locals with an innovative, international art world; her space was to be a playground of possibility for all parties. Even though Pace passed away in 2007, her legacy lives on through this unparalleled institution and the Linda Pace Foundation. Her world-renowned artist residency program helped put San Antonio on the map with guest curators selecting one Texas-based, one national and one international artist for three two-month residencies each year. During this time, each artist is provided studio space, funding and support from full-time staff to create new works for exhibition. With access to these resources, artists are able to take risks and realize previously impossible pieces.
Artpace is very much woven into the fabric of San Antonio through its free programming. Artist talks provide insight into the creative process, while opening receptions give locals the chance to mingle among new work, even the gallery's Main Avenue windows offer passersby contemporary art via the rotating installations commissioned for the Window Works program. Whatever the happening, engagement from the community is necessary (and hey, you've got no excuse, it's free). And if it's a VIP vibe you seek, become a Fresh Art First Member, for access to the members-only lounge and invitations to rooftop concerts. From Taco Fridays to youth outreach, there's always something happening at Artpace.
For its annual fan favorite, Chalk it Up, Artpace ditches the gallery altogether and sets up shop on historic Houston Street. For one day only, the stretch of concrete becomes a temporary canvas for the community. With chalk in hand, selected artists and impressive teams of students and cultural organizations develop fleeting masterpieces for upward of 20,000 viewers. Visitors are also given the chance to collaborate on a giant public mural with complimentary chalk and the freedom to explore the wildest crevices of the imagination, just as Pace intended. Artpace, 445 N Main Ave., (210) 212-4900, artpace.org
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