Cultural Arts Board members Patricia Pratchett and Bettie Ward hosted a chili cook-off "friendraiser" for their mayoral candidate, Phil Hardberger, last Thursday, that sported Artpace founder Linda Pace as a judge and artist Chuck Ramirez as one of the chefs. Developer and Blue Star landlord James Lifshutz circulated in the crowd along with attorney Mike Casey and general contractor Taylor O'Dell, both Blue Star board members. After a stump speech in which Hardberger claimed to be the only candidate who wants to increase arts funding, the judge mentioned that another influential judge (and former mayor), Nelson Wolff, had introduced him at a recent Lyric Opera luncheon. From his perch at the County Commissioners' office, Wolff jumpstarted the Bexar County Art and Culture Fund `rechristened theFund `see "Artifacts," Feb 17-23, 2005` and is hoping that the next mayor will help him realize his dreams of linking downtown to Southtown, and building a closely related performing arts center and performing arts high school in or near HemisFair. Hardberger added that he recently had met with Wolff to discuss the latter's ideas.

Hardberger doesn't have a monopoly on San Antonio's arts community, however. Artist and Democratic activist Robert Wurzbach is hosting an event for candidate Julián Castro in April at his family's estate on Wurzbach Road. "Harberger `sic`, or whatever his name is" would represent the "status quo," says Wurzbach. "`Castro's` gonna fight for the city like he did for his district." Gallerist Joan Grona agrees. "I think `Castro` is really bright, and I think our city will get a lot more press if he's mayor because he's such an up-and-coming young Democrat."

What about that other guy, Carroll Schubert, you ask. "For some reason his campaign never took off," says Wurzbach. And at Hardberger's chili cook-off, the "potholes, not paintings" District 9 councilman was being written off with speculation that he would save the bulk of his war chest for another race, perhaps something statewide. `See related story, page 63, and "Big picture people," December 16-21, 2004.`

"We deny that the San Antonio gallery will be closing and deny that the current show is the last show," wrote Finesilver Gallery representative Andrea Caillouet in late January, some 20 days after the "current show" was scheduled to close. That exhibit, featuring the works of Joey Fauerso, Hills Snyder, and Lourdy Rodriguez, still hangs on the walls and may be viewed by appointment only, according to the gallery's answering machine. In the meantime, the Finesilver building is on the market, for sale or lease ("Sale Price: Negotiable," reads the flyer), and the Houston gallery satellite is still looking for a permanent home. Multiple phone calls to Finesilver and owner Chris Erck for comment were not returned. With or without the gallery, the historic building, located on the northwest corner of downtown, is a gem, with 122,000-square-feet of beautifully renovated, Internet-ready space. "I am very excited to represent such a unique property," says Trammell Crow agent Christi Griggs. Interested parties can contact Griggs at 253-6034.

Compiled by Elaine Wolff


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