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History

 
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Over 3,000 Artists creating

Over $500,000 in artist fees given

Over 1 million people attending

Over 1,200 visual arts installations

Over 900 performances

 

Luminaria was founded in 2008 by then-mayor Phil Hardberger, a passionate supporter of the arts who was inspired by two night-time multi-genre festivals: Nuit Blanche in Paris, and Madrid’s La Noche en Blanco. Mayor Hardberger and his team of volunteer organizers recognized that the creative community of San Antonio deserves a night arts festival. And in a city renowned for annual public celebrations, Luminaria would hold a unique role — spotlighting the arts as an important part of city life, while illuminating our historic downtown as a reimagined creative space. It’s a role that Luminaria has fulfilled every year.

Since March 2008, San Antonio artists have created new theatrical and dance performances, film screenings, light projections, creative demonstrations, live music ranging from garage bands to orchestras, and other site-specific experiences. And each year, Luminaria has grown. The footprint has changed and expanded to embrace an ever-larger audience, local artists invited national and international collaborators, and the arts community came to see Luminaria as a chance to experiment, collaborate, and innovate on a large scale.

For its first three years, Luminaria lit up the historic area surrounding the Alamo, occupying nearby spaces in transition. 2008 took place in Alamo Plaza, along Peacock Alley, and within then-empty storefronts on Navarro Street. In 2009, local New Media students staged a pop-up exhibition space in the soon-to-be-renovated Convention Center, while visual artists occupied the empty shop windows of the former Joske’s department store.

Luminaria illuminated Hemisfair Park from 2011 through 2013. The arts festival enlivened Hemisfair’s underutilized gazebos, storage sheds, and other buildings with live music, projections, and light sculptures at every turn. The audience grew, and participating artists were invited from San Antonio's sister cities, beginning with Gwangju, South Korea.

Beginning in 2014, Luminaria expanded from a single night to a weekend event. The festival also transitioned to the River North district, including the newly opened Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The 2015 Luminaria partnered with the River North neighborhood's San Antonio Museum of Art and nearby businesses. A hurricane dampened the original weekend, so "Take Two" events were orchestrated at a later date. Community integration took precedence in 2016's east downtown festival, and Luminaria received an award from Centro San Antonio as Best Downtown Event. The 2017 festival returned to a newly redeveloped Hemisfair Park, providing a fresh experience in a familiar venue.

Luminaria has become a creative incubator for cutting-edge new work, and highlights San Antonio as a city of the arts. A changing roster of directors, curators, producers, and advisory boards built a brilliant history. In the future, Luminaria will continue to expand opportunities for San Antonio’s artists, audiences, neighborhoods, voices, and our increasingly important creative economy.

Luminaria is an independent non-profit organization and embraces all artistic disciplines. The next festival will take place November 10, 2018 in San Antonio's Hemisfair Park.

 

ARTISTIC DIRECTORS OF LUMINARIA, 2008-2016

2008
Marise McDermott, Witte Museum
Henry Muñoz, Kell-Muñoz Architects
Janet Holliday, The CE Group
 
2009: Artistic Directors
Marise McDermott, Witte Museum
Matthew Drutt, Artpace
 
2010:Artistic Directors
Paula Owen, Southwest School of Art
George Cisneros, Urban-15 Group
 
2011: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Susanne Cooper
 
2012: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Chris Sauter
Melissa Marlowe, Northwest Vista College
 
2013: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Melissa Marlowe, Northwest Vista College
Kathy Armstrong, Southwest School of Art
 
2014: Artistic Directors
Noah Khoshbin
Ethel Shipton

2015: Artisitic Committee
Marisela Barrera
Paige Berry
Riley Robinson
Adam Rocha
Chris Smart
Anna Stothart

2016: Artistic Committee
David Alcantar
Angela Covo
Danielle King
Dr.Joey Lopez
Jeanette Muñiz
Octavio Quintanilla

2017: Artistic Committee
Jenny Browne
Garrett T. Capps
Joe De La Cruz
Cassandra Parker-Nowicki
Troy Peters
Joel Celelistino Settles
Maritza "Blue" Vazquez

Meet the 2018 Team

 

PO Box 120188, San Antonio, Texas 78212 (210) 721-1670 info@luminariasa.org