March marks the 31st annual Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.  What began as a grassroots event at Blue Star Contemporary in 1986 has grown into a month-long celebration of San Antonio’s artists, museums, galleries and studios.  Contemporary Art Month (CAM), an independent, volunteer-run nonprofit established in 2003, manages the calendar and promotion for the month.  CAM sponsors several free, educational programs during the month for the public, as well as an open call for artists.

In addition to the month-long array of exhibitions and open studios, CAM sponsors several annual events.  The festivities begin with the Contemporary Art Month Kick-off Party, held at Blue Star Contemporary — the place where it all started — on March 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.  There will be live music and food, and the 2017-2018 Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Residents will be announced.

In tribute to The Blue Star Exhibition, the show that started it all in 1986, Blue Star Contemporary (BSC) commissioned eight artists to create work corresponding with pieces in the first exhibition.  The result, Homage, features these original works alongside photographs from that transformative exhibition.  Also on view are Jessica Halonen’s The Blue Hour (A Clock Stopped); Julia Barbosa Landois’ M*dres; and Turning Memory, featuring the work of Chicago-based artist John Steck, Jr. 

The 2017 CAM Perennial Exhibition, Reflections of Landscape and Memory, curated by Miami-based Chris Ingalls, is on view from March 10 through April 30, 2017 at the Southwest School of Art.  Each year, the CAM organization invites a professional curator working outside of San Antonio to put together a show featuring local San Antonio artists.  The 2017 artists are David Alcantar, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Esteban Delgado, Ana Fernandez, Sarah Fox, Nicole Geary, Joe Harjo, Julia Barbosa Landois, Britt Lorraine, Kristy Perez, Karen Mahaffy, Michele Monseau, Alejandro Augustine Padilla, Kallie Cheves, Ryan Takaba, and Guillermina Zabala.  The opening reception is Friday, March 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

In conjunction with the CAM Perennial Exhibition is CAMx, also known as CAM Exchange, which “pairs an artist-run space from the same partnering city as the CAM Perennial curator with a local artist-run space,” according to the CAM website.  The goal of CAMx is to foster dialogue and exchange between the cities.  Art spaces from each city will organize an exhibition shown in the partnering city. CAMx2017 will be held locally at R Space, run by artist Alex Rubio and located at 110 E. Lachapelle in the Lone Star District, and in Miami, Florida at the Laundromat Art Space. 

Closing out Contemporary Art Month is the CAMMIE Awards ceremony, March 30 at the Linda Pace Foundation CHRISpark on Camp St. Judges for the 2017 awards include representatives from Artpace, Blue Star Contemporary, Carver Community Cultural Center, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art and Southwest School of Art.  

For more information about CAM or to donate to the nonprofit, please visit contemporaryartmonth.com.

- Katy Tuck, Intern
Blue Star Contemporary