CAM era

The Current couldn’t be happier that Contemporary Art Month is moving, after this July, to March. We look forward to all the meteorological advantages: making studio visits without blacking out from heat exhaustion, maintaining a semblance of on-purpose hairdo, not secreting ice packs in our pants, wearing shoes to openings. But this last in-July CAM — brainchild of artist Robert Tatum and (Artlies editor) Anjali Gupta, and adopted child of a brand spankin’ new (Tatum-picked) interim board of directors — promises to be stellar.

The new board members are Jason Jay Stevens, half of multi/new-media experimental artmaking collective Potter-Belmar Labs; Leslie Raymond, the other half of PBL and the head of the New Media art department at UTSA; Michele Monseau, artist, faculty member at Palo Alto College, and gallerist of the decade-old Three Walls Gallery; Ben Judson, artist, curator, writer at essential Texas arts sites and, and Andy Benavides, honcho at 1906 South Flores and co-founder of the S.M.A.R.T Fair (who wasn’t present for this chat). Intrigued by this snippet? Read the whole interview at

What do you think will qualitatively change, in terms of how things will be run, organizationally … if not this July, then in March?

Ben Judson: Probably this July won’t be a whole lot different. We’re hoping to have a stronger web presence, that’s about it. But in March what we’re hoping for is just  a stronger organizational structure, and promoting to a broader range — to the region, and not just the city.

Michele Monseau: Promoting the city, what’s going on here, to the region and hopefully to the nation. And we’re hoping to capitalize on South by Southwest `held in Austin in March`, since there’s so much going on in the region at that time.

BJ: …And making a good link to `city-wide arts fest` Luminaria, so that `CAM and Luminaria` work together and hopefully will be able to support each other.

How did y’all feel about this past Luminaria, `in which you` rented a building and put on a show, as kind of your first outing as the CAM board?

Jason Jay Stevens: It was awesome. Our very first event really exceeded expectations.

MM: We established a presence with Luminaria, tried to hopefully up the ante.

JJS: I actually think Luminaria is a very good venue for the performing arts, but a very difficult one for the visual arts, because asking an installation artist or a painter to install for one night, it’s a lot of work. So, hopefully in `CAM in March`, Luminaria can be this great event of performance and performance artists, and visual artists can set up for the whole month.

MM: And that also speaks to the multidisciplinary goals that we have for CAM, with Luminaria being much more interdisciplinary, with musicians and performers …

BJ: … Luminaria’s tried to have citywide events outside of the core downtown footprint … `moving CAM to March` will help to support those kinds of events all around the city, all month.

And how is the CAM board doing in communicating with the city, with its cultural institutions?

JJS: We had a meeting where we got a lot of the stakeholders together — the Office of Cultural Affairs, the museums. It was tremendously

BJ: I think there was a period where CAM was this artist-run thing, then the `Office of Cultural Affairs` wanted to run the calendar, and artists resisted it, but that whole context’s changed now.

Leslie Raymond: My perception is that San Antonio has really grown up, in terms of the art scene. I wasn’t here when CAM started `in 1994 in its current incarnation`, but so many new things have happened even since I’ve been in town … the caliber of the arts is growing, and CAM is meshing more with the institutions here. It’s time! The artists deserve it, the city deserves it. It’s time San Antonio got on the map, nationally.

MM: That’s our goal, really. To grow the arts in San Antonio, and to grow San Antonio’s profile as a great arts city.

What else is in store for this July, the last July CAM?

LR: Well, we’re going to have a funeral procession.

JJS: CAM is Dead; Long Live CAM!

LR: We’re having a funeral parade along the San Antonio River `Sunday, July 26, 10:30 a.m.-1:30p.m., near the Lexington bridge` to celebrate the changeover; really it’ll be fun. It’ll be hot `laughs`, but it’ll be great. We want people to wear costumes and play instruments and really to feel involved in the change in a fun way.

MM: It’s going to be an amazing July; there are so many good shows. We’re all so excited.

BJ: The calendar `at` is pretty user-friendly and interactive now; there’s a lot of information. People should check it out.

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