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MLK Park is the site of a new sculpture dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.

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In 2022, when the MLK march sets off from Martin Luther King Jr. Park, it will have a new public sculpture at the starting point that becomes an iconic part of the march.

The San Antonio-based artist, Kaldric Dow, completed his monumental outdoor installation called Spheres of Reflection. With the piece reaching almost 17 feet in height, it’s a major achievement for Dow and artists of color in the city.

The steel & concrete sculpture called “Spheres” was both Dow’s first public art piece and first large scale sculpture. Created through the department of Arts and Culture’s “Sketch to Sculpture” program, Spheres was realised in 2019.

We recognized that in order to work towards diversity and equity in public art, we needed to be able to use all the resources at our disposal. Many artists would have difficulties working with large scale commission texts or material they weren’t well versed in. We want to provide what is usually unavailable for them so they can contribute more to the department’s goals, said Stacey Norton, administrator.

Previously, Dow had been known primarily as a portrait painter. He exhibited his work at Luminaria, AP Art Lab, and the San Antonio International Airport. He said he can easily generate ideas for sculptures but without the Sketch to Sculpture program, making Spheres and its companion piece installed in the River Walk Art Garden downtown would not have been possible.

“My initial idea for the piece began with a self-portrait and an elaborate hair style,” Dow stated while talking about his creative process. He started by sketching himself with an elaborate hairdo. “I find it empowering to know something I created myself was turned into drawings, then cut out, and finally turned into this 3D sculpture.”

The self-portrait evolved into a purposefully androgynous face in the 1980s when artist Roy Dow said in his retrospective last year with the museum: “I want people to feel familiar with the face to where it can represent someone in their family or their friends. On the subject of colors, “Cor-Ten” is an iron compound with a familiar industrial history. It’s uses cater to the demands of black skin tones like it does in Dow’s portraits.

Black culture’s widespread embrace of hair as a symbol of pride and celebration of heritage.

Dow states that special rings of black-painted steel spheres stacked four rows high evoke Black culture’s widespread embrace of hair as a symbol of pride and celebration of heritage. The sculpture gains resonance with its surroundings through words written on the lower rows of spheres. These quotes from Dr. King each have a meaning that reflects the mood of the sculpture, for example “Dream,” “Bold,” and “Desire.”

With completing Spheres of Reflection, Dow looks forward to the public dedication and MLK March on Jan. 11 and 17 respectively.

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Downtown SA Lights Up for the Holidays

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Downtown San Antonio will sparkle this holiday season with an array of lights and holiday events. 

Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most historic and charming walkways, five blocks of Houston Street will buzz with twinkling lights, decorations, entertainers, and vendors from Nov. 24 and runs through January 2. 

 Additionally, on Nov. 24, kick off the holiday festivities with the Annual H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Travis Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include live entertainment, food trucks, letters to Santa, giveaways, holiday crafts, a special visit from Santa, and a movie screening of “The Grinch.” The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 

Get front-row seats to the 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade, which offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk starting at 6 pm at the Tobin Center. This year’s theme, “Holiday Stories,” will kick off the San Antonio tradition. Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. Seating ranges from $15 to $40. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.

The Rotary Ice Rink, presented by Valero, will also return this fall at Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Since 2019, nearly 200,000 people have enjoyed the rink and surrounding festivities. For more information, including hours of operation, pricing, and specials, visit (rotaryicerink.com).

For more events, go to (VisitSanAntonio.com).

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Harlem Renaissance – First African American Movement of International Modern Art

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In February 2024, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the groundbreaking exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism from Feb. 25-July 28, 2024, at The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 999 in New York

Through some 160 works, it will explore the comprehensive ways in which Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities that took shape in the 1920s–40s in New York City’s Harlem and Chicago’s South Side and nationwide in the early decades of the Great Migration when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South. The exhibition will establish the Harlem Renaissance as the first African–American–led movement of international modern art.

The Ford Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel provide major support for the exhibition. The Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, the Enterprise Holdings Endowment, and The International Council of The Metropolitan Museum of Art provide additional support.

Many of the paintings, sculptures, and works on paper come from the extensive collections of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

“This landmark exhibition reframes the Harlem Renaissance, cementing its place as the first African American–led movement of international modern art,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO. “Through compelling portraits, vibrant city scenes, and dynamic portrayals of nightlife created by leading artists of the time, the exhibition boldly underscores the movement’s pivotal role in shaping the portrayal of the modern Black subject—and indeed the very fabric of early 20th-century modern art.

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism will open with galleries that explore the cultural philosophy that gave shape to the New Negro movement of art and literature, a term defined and popularized by the movement’s founding philosopher, Howard University professor Alain Locke, in dialogue with W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles S. Johnson, and influential literary and music figures including Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and James Weldon Johnson. 

The Met has an extended history of collecting and displaying works by artists active during the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1940s, the Museum acquired several early works by gift from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), such as Jacob Lawrence’s Pool Parlor (1942). 

A fully illustrated scholarly catalog on the vibrant history of the Harlem Renaissance will accompany the exhibition. The Met will host various exhibition-related educational and public programs, to be announced later, while also pursuing community outreach and engagement initiatives. The exhibition is featured on The Met’s website at (TheMetMuseum.org) and on social media.

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Jay-Z Exhibit Opens in Brooklyn 

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Jay-Z’s motto is to “Always Bet On Yourself.” His formula has paid off since he has continuously shaped the culture and broken barriers for nearly three decades. 

Now, fans can uncover more about his career through The Book Of HOV exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library. Variety magazine said the 40,000-square-foot exhibit provides a deep dive into Jay-Z’s life and career through seven themed “zones” that explore his influence on music, culture, business, and social justice. With a curated collection of recordings, clothing, artifacts, audio tours, and videos, this homage to Jay-Z is a must-visit for fans and enthusiasts. 

According to Hot New Hip Hop website, the installation presented by Roc Nation has already made waves online before its launch on July 14. “The Brooklyn Library put Jay-Z’s lyrics on display outside of the building to formally announce the exhibit. On the opening night, his wife, Beyonce, and their daughter, Blue Ivy, were in attendance. Additionally, Rakim, Questlove, Lil Uzi Vert, Fat Joe, and more came to show support.”

According to the exhibit’s website, the Book Of HOV is a tribute exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch, recognizing Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter’s extraordinary journey from Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects to a global figure. The multimedia exhibit explores JAY-Z’s global impact as a musician, innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

The exhibit presents thousands of archived objects, including original recording masters, never-before-seen photos, iconic stage wear, prestigious awards and recognitions, and videos and artifacts from every facet of JAY-Z’s professional life. 

“Our goal, with The Book of HOV tribute exhibition, is to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a Hall of Fame songwriter and performer, successful business person, and a consequential philanthropist who has never forgotten the lessons he learned on the road to success. And the borough where his journey began,” according to the Brooklyn Library. 

The exhibit is free to visitors. To learn more about the exhibit, visit (TheBookOfHOV.com).

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