Contemporary at Blue Star
The Contemporary at Blue Star presents exhibitions with artists from San Antonio and around the world sharing their global perspectives that encourage understanding, empathy, change, and action, fulfilling our mission to inspire, nurture, and innovate. Like most non-collecting contemporary art spaces, the Contemporary contributes fresh insight and perspective on larger issues affecting society and culture by highlighting trends, movements, and conversations happening in art.
Contemporary Art for San Antonio was founded for artists by artists in 1986 in a grassroots movement sparked by the cancellation of the first major museum exhibition of contemporary art in San Antonio. Transforming an empty warehouse donated for the cause, the nonprofit’s founders and exhibiting artists created a gallery for the Blue Star Exhibition. Expecting about 300 visitors, they ultimately welcomed over 3,500, and so the programming continued.
The organization has grown alongside its community’s needs, and now encompasses a professional staff, a robust calendar of onsite and offsite exhibitions, partnerships with local and international nonprofits, creative youth development programs, international exchange opportunities for artists, and public art projects. A major renovation in 2016 focused on accessibility and safety while also transforming the entrance to a welcoming community gathering place and converting a former office to the Art Learning Lab for interactive projects that extend the reach of the exhibitions for all ages.
The Contemporary is an anchoring cultural institution in our city, and a destination for residents and tourists alike. Located along the banks of the San Antonio River Walk, the Contemporary is a central highlight between the bustle of downtown and the UNESCO World Heritage San Antonio Missions. Over the last thirty-six years, the creative economy sparked by the artists who live, create, and exhibit work in the community has given rise to the economic development of the Southtown neighborhoods of King William, Lavaca, Lone Star, Roosevelt, and Collins Gardens. This has spurred the revitalization of the King William Historic District, the state designation of the King William Cultural Arts District, the major investment to turn the River Walk into a large, linear public park, and a vibrant, walkable neighborhood full of locally owned businesses and artist-run studios.