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News and notes from the San Antonio art scene

Participants of last week's Third Thursdays downtown gallery openings witnessed the swan song for Brad Braune Gallery, which has shown contemporary painters and photographers at 315 E. Commerce for the past two years. Braune, who participated in and advocated for Third Thursdays, opened just in time to suffer from the post-9-11 drop in tourism. As a practicing artist, he's found himself working twice as hard to keep the gallery's bills paid.

"It's been really fun doing downtown," says Braune, adding, "I think we're still a year or two away before we've got a viable downtown," for businesses that don't fit the River Walk party and family themes.

Braune's last show, which will be up through December 31, features photographer Susan Brister's New Orleans street scenes and portraits. Beginning in Janurary, Braune will use the space as a personal gallery, viewable by appointment. For more info, call 226-7878.

Hot off the presses, the Office of Cultural Affairs' Biannual Report provides a view of city arts funding from October 2001-September 2003. Among the report's useful information, the Hotel-Motel Occupancy Tax continues to provide 94 percent of the OCA's budget. And of the $3.7 million budget for 2002-2003, about 73 percent, or $ 2.7 million, went to arts funding programs, with the remainder providing the OCA's administrative budget. The San Antonio Museum of Art and the Symphony Society of San Antonio were among the recipients of the largest operational and program grants. Copies of the report are available by contacting OCA at 222-2787.

Kick off the New Year at Joan Grona Gallery, which is hosting a New Year's Day opening from 6-9pm featuring representational painter Sky Patterson. Patterson is the grandson of legendary Luckenbach native Hondo Crouch, the comedian, carver, and all-around character memorialized in the honky-tonk hit "Let's Go to Luckenbach, Texas." For more info, call 225-6334. •

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