Blue Star Contemporary is delighted to share with our neighbors in King William the exciting news that we were recently awarded $87,522 from the Texas Commission on the Arts’ Cultural District Project grant program. This special initiative, separate from its programmatic grants, specifically supports the growth of cultural tourists to the state’s cultural districts. As an institution within the King William Cultural Arts District, Blue Star Contemporary was eligible to apply.

Last year, Blue Star’s board and staff convened to develop our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, an ambitious guide that includes modernizing and making accessible our facilities and infrastructure, consistent branding as Blue Star Contemporary, and serving as a leader in San Antonio’s visual arts community with global recognition.

As you may have noticed, we are in the middle of capital renovations—

the first major facelift in Blue Star’s 30-year history. The renovations include a wider, accessible entrance and the creation of a permanent education resource room. To complement the renovations, two local creative firms are helping to propel us into the future with consistent, creative brand design that reflects our mission and programs.

The TCA’s grant will support these goals. In addition to the branding and storytelling projects, it will underwrite a major print and online advertising campaign focused on outreach to cultural tourists, drawing them to share in Blue Star Contemporary’s dynamic exhibitions and public programs and the King William Cultural Arts District’s energy and vibrancy. We are partnering with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to stretch our grant dollars and reach an even larger audience than we could on our own. Cultural tourists stay longer, and spend more, than other types of tourists; as much of the government funding for the arts is generated through Hotel Occupancy Taxes, the TCA’s investment with Blue Star Contemporary to reach cultural tourists will also positively impact our peer arts and culture nonprofits.

While this is a one-year grant, many of our efforts will serve Blue Star Contemporary and the KWCAD for years to come – especially with the increased promotions around the World Heritage Site-designated Missions, the KWA’s upcoming 50th anniversary, and the City of San Antonio’s Tricentennial celebrations. Our recently relaunched website includes extensive search engine optimization and content migration, so it can serve as the home of 30 years of archival material and our best advertising resource.

We are grateful to the Texas Commission on the Arts for this funding opportunity, our legislators for supporting the arts, and to the KWCAD for its support of the nonprofits in the community. The support of the King William Association, including through its grant program, helps us leverage support from other grantmakers. We truly couldn’t do this without you.

We are eager to celebrate our grand reopening this fall, and look forward to another 30 years of inspiring, nurturing and innovating through contemporary art with you.

- Elaine Leahy, Development Manager Blue Star Contemporary