Luminaria Returns With a Bold New Vision for San Antonio

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Jimmy James Canales - COURTESY
Jimmy James Canales

The River Level

The River Walk's Museum Reach is not the picture of spacious strolling. "The river level poses a challenge," Khoshbin muses, "the walks are a little narrower—they're not as wide. So it became a challenge in terms of putting works on the river so that you could actually manage traffic flow."

With this in mind, Khoshbin focused on sound, bringing in Alvaro Ruiz and Hugo Navarro, two sound artists from Mexico, to develop a "virtual soundtrack along the river." Additionally, instrumentalists will play duet style throughout each evening.

San Antonio-based conceptual artist Anne Wallace reveals Bolero, her first video in a series shot among "urban ruins," featuring people dancing on tile left over from demolished buildings. Bolero will be projected across the water's surface on a grand scale.

Street Level

Night drops a blanket of the unfamiliar onto San Antonio's streets as multidisciplinary artists summon visitors into a participatory experience. Shipton notes, "People are starting to overlap and collaborate and I think that was a strength of Luminaria. I think that the influence will be seen in this Luminaria."

Argentinian artist Daniel Gonzales will "mold reality to make magic" with his Bohemian Texas Street Home Fashion Show. In preparation for the event, Gonzales sent out a citywide call for "lamp lenders;" his performance will feature fashions styled out of lamps on loan from the good folks of San Anto.

Local piñata enthusiast Avi Avalos dons the beloved Mr. Piñata costume and shimmies through the streets with free hugs and photobombs. You may see him snap a photo with San Antonio native Jimmy James Canales, currently on view as Monte Man in the windows of Artpace. Canales promises to surprise and delight in his costumed marvel. His current work, inspired by the mnemonic keyword "S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L.," enters the "I" ("Improvise" and "Value living") phase during Luminaria.

There won't be many indoor locales to hide from the lights of Luminaria but you'll find My Brother's Bar open for business. Inside, the Los Angeles artist and performer Gary Garay will be spinning records from the much forgotten Del Bravo Records. The Westside San Antonio recording studio recorded the work of many musicians from San Antonio, Mexico, and the southern U.S. "His entire set is going to be giving San Antonio, San Antonio," says Khoshbin.

In addition to Garay, there will be much music to be found on any of the three stages throughout the evenings, including hometown favorites Girl in a Coma and Texas Tornados along with Los Angeles-based fusionistas La Santa Cecilia and many more.


Luminaria's entrance transforms the buildings' facades into a fantastic new realm. With three-story projections and illuminated murals that rise five stories high, the urban landscape will be flooded with light.

A wild kitsch world, fueled by sexy girls and demon rituals will be splashed on the side of El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel in a new mural created by Mexican artist Dr. Lakra. His previous works have been shown at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Matthew Marks Gallery (NY) and The Drawing Collective (LA). Fun fact: Lakra's father is painter, sculptor and graphic artist Francisco Toledo.

Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, otherwise known as the California self-taught duo, The Date Farmers, blend their Mexican American heritage with pop culture, politics, and the experience of the working artist. The pair will create a mural for the event.

The city's walls will also offer a bit of movement. Local multimedia artist Guy Hundere will project his video, Samson and Delilah against one of the exterior walls of Central Library. The piece illustrates the biblical tale via a utility pole swaying in the wind.

Local artist, organizer, and picture framer Andy Benavides takes a train zipping through San Antonio and turns it on its head in We Live with Trains. The 30-foot projection sends a train on a vertical trip to anywhere—as it heads into the sky, into the unknown, into tomorrow, and into the bold new future that Luminaria undertakes.

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