In July 2011 the Texas Commission on the Arts designated our area the King William Cultural Arts District.  The mission is to improve the quality of life by promoting educational, cultural and recreational pursuits and activities. In addition to the many museums and galleries in the area we have an extraordinary number of outstanding professional artists.  The KW Cultural Arts Committee would like to feature some of them from time to time in the newsletter. 

Al Rendon is a photographer whose work is hard to miss right now, as his images of the Missions and other San Antonio landmarks wrap around the entire northwest side of the Convention Center.  The same gigantic images have been used to screen the construction of a new parking garage at the airport.  He has created a portfolio of ten prints of images from the charreada, a set of which was purchased by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  More of his work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery, also in Washington D.C.  His chronicle of iconic San Antonio landmarks continues as he prepares a collection of 175 images for a picture book to be published by Twin Lights Publishing. 

Al has always been a downtown person.  He lived in Mahncke Park and had a gallery space in La Villita before buying the Dijon mustard-colored building at 722 South Alamo, where he has studio and gallery space downstairs and living space upstairs.  He bought the building in 2001 and has done major renovations, including tearing out walls and removing the lowered ceiling to expose the original 13 foot ceilings.  

Rendon’s building, located at the busy point where Presa and S. Alamo cross, was originally constructed in the 1890s as a beer hall.  It served as the scene of lively art openings featuring a variety of work by mostly local artists.  Al closed the gallery in September 2013, and will re-open this summer with a renovated office and exhibit space to showcase his fine art photography.  If you’re walking by be sure to check out the work displayed in the windows. 

Al and his wife, Liz, have been a great addition to the neighborhood.  We are lucky to have such talented people in our Cultural Arts District! 

- Anne Alexander