Thousands turn out to mark the return of the San Antonio Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival

Thousands flocked to downtown San Antonio as darkness fell to greet a variety of faces – those inscribed on canvases and those performing for the audience at Hemisfair.

More than 200 Texans exhibited their creations, ranging from painting and sculpture to cinema and poetry, as part of the 2021 Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival.

“You want to support locals (artists) and help your community as much as you can, so I feel like this is great,” said participant Felicia Fly, who has helped create for former Luminarias.

While the artists all shared a homeland, they rarely overlapped in terms of creative expression, their portfolios were different in terms of both medium and style.

Masked models were part of the Plastic Humanity exhibition at Hemisfair.

Masked models were part of the Plastic Humanity exhibition at Hemisfair.

Robin Jerstad / Contributor

Faces consisting of everything from charcoal to clothes smiled alternately, frowned, scowled and stared from mounted canvases Saturday night in Hemisfair Park.

Elsewhere, a man read a passionate word-word poem about tacos. “Kilantroen and I still get confused when they make me choose between all the pastor and carne asada,” he said as projectors beamed images and short films onto the walls of the Convention Center.

One such film, an animated production starring a number of human-animal hybrids, caught the attention of frequent Luminaria contestant Jon Spears. A yellow-brown wolf wearing red stiletto heels trotted from one side of the screen to the other; flowers, the center of which had been replaced by blue, twinkling human eyes, swayed back and forth. Spears saw it twice in a row.

“I really like this one,” he said of the film, describing the artist’s vision as “interesting” and “elaborate” and wondering how it was put together.

Modulating light towers fill part of Hemisfair Park during the annual Luminaria event on Saturday, November 13, 2021. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 eruption.

Modulating light towers fill part of Hemisfair Park during the annual Luminaria event on Saturday, November 13, 2021. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 eruption.

Robin Jerstad / Contributor

In 2008, then-Mayor Phil Hardberger hosted the first annual Luminaria to raise San Antonio’s artistic profile. Since then, it has grown to be the most prominent event of its kind in South Texas, according to a press release.

The annual art festival was put on hold last year due to the pandemic. Although Luminaria returned this year, it was shortened to just one night instead of the traditional two-day event.

Give a Comment