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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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MAVP365 and Timothy Lister at The Carver Gallery

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San Antonio multidisciplinary artist Maverick Pascal and portrait artist Timothy Lister will have their work on display through Feb. 17 at The Carver Gallery. 

Pascal’s exhibit, MAVP365, depicts his self-reflection and mental health journey. Pascal says art is healing. 

In 2020, Pascal dedicated himself to creating at least one piece daily for the entire year, hence the name MAVP365. His inspiration comes from different parts of his trauma, lessons from his healing, or learning from others’ journeys. His work’s geometrical fragments and broken pieces draw inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken objects are mended with gold to become more beautiful. 

Music and sounds also influence Pascal’s designs. “Whether or not I know what I want to express, the frequencies from the songs I listen to influence the storytelling of the colors, lines, and shapes.”

To learn more about Pascal or buy his artwork, visit (MavP365.com).

Lister’s work is on display in The Carver’s Side Gallery. His work is realistic in form and media; however, his approach is cross-cultural. Lister’s paintings reflect a deep interest in African American culture and history.

A native of Texas, Lister has been inspired by the works of Jacob Lawrence, Ed Loper, and Henry Tanner over the years of art study. He has also been inspired by contemporary artists John Coleman of San Antonio and Guy Sheppard of Houston.

The Carver Gallery is located in The Jo Long Theatre lobby of the Carver Community Cultural Center at 226 N. Hackberry. The gallery’s hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. There’s no admission fee for the gallery.

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Between Yesterday and Tomorrow – Perspectives from Local Black Artists

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Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, Perspectives from Black Contemporary Artists in San Antonio will have its opening reception from 6 pm to 9 pm on Jan. 10 at the Culture Commons Gallery at City Hall at 115 Plaza De Armas.

This event is free and open to the public and is part of DreamWeek San Antonio 2023. The exhibit will be displayed from Jan. 19 to Nov. 17. 

Curated by Barbara Felix and presented by The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture, this exhibition will showcase a multifaceted collection of local Black artists as they share their cultural and life experiences through their work. Themes include Black history and identity, family dynamics, social connections, spirituality and resilience. The artworks include drawing, painting, photography, mixed media, digital media, assemblage, sculpture and quilting. 

The 18 artists presented in this exhibition are actively engaged in their artistic practices. Each brings a unique perspective, covering Black history and identity topics, family dynamics, social connections, personal human experience, spirituality, and resilience. 

“The goal was to drive the collective vision of Black contemporary artists as documentarians of the historical and social conscience of their time,” Curator Barbara Felix commented. “When the individual selected works came together in the gallery, I realized the prospect of this show was coming to fruition in a way that beautifully celebrates each artist and their vision.” 

Featuring artworks by Carmen Cartiness Johnson, John Coleman, Kaldric Dow, Kwanzaa Edwards, Anthony Francis, Alain Boris Gakwaya, Deborah Harris, Edward Harris, Paul Hurd, Alethia Jones, Theresa Newsome, Wardell Picquet, Calvin Pressley, Don Stewart, Naomi Wanjiku, Angela Weddle and Bernice Appelin Williams. 

Culture Commons is located in the Plaza de Armas Building and is managed by the Department of Arts & Culture. It consists of a storefront gallery on the first and second floors and a 1,500 sq. ft. exhibit hall that features visual art exhibits, performances, invited speakers, and workshops. 

The vision for Culture Commons is to serve as the City of San Antonio’s cultural space that integrates the arts into civic conversation by encouraging creativity, supporting local culture, and engaging the community in transforming the future.

The exhibit hours are Wednesday through Friday from 11 am to 4 pm and it’s closed during holidays.

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Artpace: Curator Talk

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Join Artpace Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 pm for a curator talk with Missla Libsekal, who will share her curatorial practice, followed by a Q&A. Doors open at 5:30 pm, and the free talk will begin at 6 pm. 

Libsekal is Artpace’s fall 2023 International Artist in Residency Guest Curator and is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Her practice focuses on interdisciplinary research and artistic practice from a Pan-African perspective. She says on her website that a watershed moment in her journey towards art and practice was a visit to her ancestral home of Asmara, Eritrea (a country in the Horn of Africa), in 2004. 

She’s also the founder of Another Africa, a digital platform that operated from 2010 – 2016, and featured writing about African and Afro-Diasporic experiences and imaginaries. Her writings have been published in The Africa Report, The Guardian, Art Africa, SAVVY art journal, and more. 

In 2017, Libsekal curated the second edition of the Art x Lagos, Nigeria’s first international art fair. In an interview with Nataal magazine, she described her approach to the curated projects stating, “I was thinking about the rupture of histories within the African context and how we address them—that felt critical to use as a foundation. I also wanted to think about materiality and expand on how contemporary art is understood and defined.”

Artpace San Antonio is a nonprofit residency program that supports Texas, national, and international artists in creating new art. As a catalyst for artistic expression, it engages local communities with global art practices and experiences. To learn more about the event and get tickets, visit (Artpace.org).

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