All my life I’ve wanted to travel. Who doesn’t? It’s a huge world and there’s so much to see! Some people want to go for the scenery, or the food, culture, history, or even the people and experiences. I, however, want to go for the art.
Art is a universal thing and everywhere you go treats it differently. I have a world map on my wall, each place I want to visit marked with sticky notes, and most of these destinations are filled with art museums or festivals. The funny thing is, I’ve spent all this time dreaming of escaping and seeing these places that it nearly blinded me to my very surroundings. Once I opened my eyes, I realized my hometown of San Antonio, where I’ve lived for almost 12 years, is one of the most artistic places around!
On San Antonio’s tourism websites, you can find a list of monthly events that always involve art, vendors, music, and dancing. What you have to love about the city is it’s need to go big or go home. If there’s an event in San Antonio, you know it’s going to be a blast!
On the other hand, there are lots of things you won’t find on the website, many of which I didn’t know myself until I met some truly amazing local artists. On the first Friday and second Saturday of every month, the underground artists of San Antonio come out of hiding, take to the streets of downtown, and display and sell their artwork. In addition, many artists open their own studios to the public, giving everyone the opportunity to see firsthand where they create their art.
Recently, I met and interviewed one of the talented underground street artists in San Antonio, Albert Gonzales, who often takes his canvas to the streets and bars to create live art, allowing people to interact and chat with him. “Painting downtown, in a way, helps me gather energy and points of view,” says Gonzales. “As I work, someone is typically standing near and observing me, trying to figure out what I’m painting. I like giving people that sense of friendly mystery. And of course, I talk to them while I paint to hear their different life stories.”
He is one of hundreds of passionate, talented artists you can find at the many art events around San Antonio. However, if you’re looking for a quieter place to browse unique local art and meet the artists behind it all, La Villita is the place to go.
La Villita is the historic arts village smack dab in the middle of downtown, and one of the city’s first neighborhoods. Not only does it behold dozens of shops filled with art, but each oozes with history. It’s also where you can find the Starving Artist Gallery, which features handcrafted and original works from local artists.
Just outside of downtown San Antonio, a new art shop called BAXTER recently opened. Run by artists who create all the wares, the shop features quirky little paintings, hand-printed t-shirts, and many other goodies, making it another worthy stop for art lovers. Not too far away is the famous McNay Art Museum. Originally the mansion of an art collector, the McNay now showcases nearly 20,000 art pieces of all kinds.
Brimming with creative vibes and opportunities, San Antonio is an artistic staple in its own right. If you’re looking to expand your artistic experiences via travel, be sure to add San Antonio to your list; it’s truly a worthwhile place to submerge yourself in a one-of-a-kind creative culture.
So now, my question for you: What’s the most artistic place you’ve travelled to, and why?