Arts Artifacts

News and notes from the San Antonio art scene

I’ll see your plant and raise you a museo

The Ford Motor Company will not let Toyota drive all over the Latino truck market. The corporation announced December 9 that it is donating $5.5 million to the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture. The gift will help complete the historic Alameda Theatre’s renovation—begun nearly a decade ago—open the Museo Americano, and support related community and education programs. The 2,400-seat Teatro Alameda, built in 1948, was the largest theater dedicated to Spanish-language entertainment in this country. `See “Ephemeral treasure,” January 8-15, 2004, and “Long time coming,” May 5-11, 2005.`

The Smithsonian-affiliated Museo Americano will host touring exhibitions, performances, and educational events documenting and celebratring Latino art, culture, and history in the Americas. “Ford’s monumental contribution will allow San Antonio to be at the forefront of Latino arts and culture,” said Mayor Phil Hardberger. “With more Ford trucks on the road than anywhere else in the world, Texas is undeniably Ford country,” said the accompanying press packet. Ford is also a sponsor of Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraits, which opens at the San Antonio Museum of Art in February. Toyota, raise or call?

Passing the buck

Community feedback on the Office of Cultural Affairs proposed funding-application process has been posted on-line at `see “The target is engaged,” September 29-Oct 5, 2005`, but both the new process and 2006 funding are “in a holding pattern,” says OCA Director Felix Padrón. Apparently flummoxed by the small print, the City Council asked the new City Manager to review the funding recommendations and proposed changes to the funding process. In October, the Council passed a City budget that included nearly $1 million in total increases to arts funding, but when it came time to split the extra proceeds—shock and awe—controversy arose. Assistant to the City Manager, Roland Lozano, who’s in charge of the arts issues, said that his office is asking OCA to hold a public hearing in early January on distributing the additional funds, and a second public meeting later in the month on the arts-funding process—which is cutting it close to the early February deadline Padrón has set for putting the new application on-line. Contact OCA at 222-2787 to find out how and when to participate in the public hearings.

An additional half-million in arts-funding is slated for the Cultural Collaborative—the city-wide initiative to improve the quantity and quality of local cultural offerings. On December 1, Tom Frost III was elected Chair of the Cultural Collaborative Implementation Committee. The first order of business: deciding whether to waste time picking apart the marketing image, What Makes San Antonio ... San Antonio, SA ... SA for short. It may not be as catchy as Fiesta, but that name was taken, and the arts community would benefit more from the proposed facilities study and technology-support grants than from a tussle over PR.

Elaine Wolff and Francesca Camillo

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