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Meet Luminaria's 2016 Artistic Advisory Committee 

click to enlarge MURAL BY IKER MURO
  • Mural by Iker Muro
David Alcantar Earlier this year when the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center withdrew from hosting Contemporary Art Month’s CAM Perennial exhibition due to an absence of Latino artists, David Alcantar wrote an opinion piece for the Rivard Report that likened the decision to throwing “the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.” As for the Eastside’s potential role in this year’s Luminaria programming, Alcantar says the area’s “current and historical narrative” may have factored into certain projects but asks, “How much should a location or venue influence what is exhibited there?” Himself a full-time artist whose work emphasizes conceptual development and critical dialogue, Alcantar suggests, “In art it is never just about the ideas but also the reception of those ideas, because art is ultimately about communication.”

Angela Covo Addressing the always-in-question balance of local and nonlocal within the context of Luminaria, writer, film critic and Edible San Antonio editor Angela Covo offers, “While this year’s art event is international, it has a welcome and decidedly local edge.” And although her  “big idea” (developing “an app people could use on their phones to color designs by local artists on a big screen”) didn’t come to fruition in time for this year’s festival, Covo’s still excited to see “music, dance, luminous art and food all throughout the footprint lighting up the Eastside.”

Danielle King An award-winning stage actress, singer and co-founder of The Renaissance Guild, Danielle King personally wanted to be sure some of the included pieces of Luminaria “originated from the Eastside.” But, she points out, “Talent is talent — either you have it, you don’t, or it’s still in process, no matter what side of town or the world you are from.” Personally invited by King, the praise troupe Acts of Kindness “ministers through dance.” Fusing elements of dance, theater, music and poetry, the group performs uplifting programs in hospitals, nursing home and houses of worship. “Their level of professionalism and passion to their art and mission is wonderful,” King says. “They really have a heart for the community.”

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Joey Lopez Coming from a unique perspective in that he’s exhibited twice at Luminaria (in 2013 and 2015) and is an admitted “huge critic of Luminaria’s diversity and inclusion,” Dr. Joey Lopez (who styles his name joey lopez phd) runs a convergent media concentration at the University of the Incarnate Word. Citing “a deep personal understanding of the geographical inequities in San Antonio” and major concerns about the Luminaria team “coming across as gentrifiers” on the Eastside, Lopez pushed to “work with not just political leaders, like festivals traditionally do, but with the actual community.” After researching social justice issues the Eastside is facing and reaching out to artists and community leaders in the area, Lopez worked with Victor Zuniga of Franklin Properties and Ann Arbor-based animator Gary Schwartz to develop STEAM-oriented after-school workshops at Sutton Oaks public housing community. Additionally, Lopez had the vision to pair photographer Sarah Brooke Lyons with young women from the Martinez Street Women’s Center program Girl Zone for an art project addressing socioeconomic disparities. Rightfully proud of these collaborations, Lopez is excited to see how the Eastside community receives Luminaria. “My hope is for the event to feel inviting and to be inclusionary,” he says. “I believe Luminaria has made earnest efforts to make this happen. But as we all know, San Antonians can be very tough critics, especially when it comes to art events. Myself admittedly being one of those critics…”

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Jeannette Muñiz A singer-songwriter who manages bands and hosts the KRTU radio program Live and Local,  Jeannette Muñiz has been following Luminaria for years and was pleasantly surprised to be recommended for the Artistic Advisory Committee by 2015 member and fellow musician Chris Smart. In her efforts to infuse this year’s program with homegrown talent, Muñiz found local bands unfamiliar with the arts-centric application process and plans to remedy this by developing a seminar geared for musicians entering open calls. When asked what she’s most excited to see play out, Muñiz is quick to mention the indie-rock/soul sextet Fishermen. “They’ve been putting in a lot of effort over the past year,” she says. During Saturday’s closing party, the band will “lead the audience on an operatic and filmic journey" as they share the stage with legendary jazz saxophonist Spot Barnett.

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Octavio Quintanilla An assistant professor of English, mass communications and drama at Our Lady of the Lake University, Dr. Octavio Quintanilla offered expertise on “submissions that were specifically literary,” but points out that Armstrong and the Artistic Advisory Committee vetted proposals as a team, taking into consideration “overall professionalism, creativity, originality and innovation.” Rounding out Luminaria’s ninth edition with “the artistry and excitement of spoken work poetry,” Quintanilla invited poets Christopher “Rooster” Martinez, Don Mathis, Darrell Pittman and Anthony “The Poet” Flores, who perform Thursday atop their namesake as The Hays Bridge Poets. 

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