Explore San Antonio’s art beyond the gallery


Graphic by Tyler Herron

With free general admission to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the McNay Museum, any Trinity student has access to a slice of the local art community. However, it is extremely easy to get stuck experiencing art in a gallery format: observe the painting on the wall and move on to the next work in the white-walled room. The San Antonio community consistently offers diverse and fresh ways to interact with art and creators. Here are five ways you can break your gallery rut this fall without breaking the bank.     

Catch a Show at Jazz TX

Tucked in the historic Pearl’s Bottling House, Jazz TX offers the full package. Tuesday through Saturday you can catch one of two jazz shows. Entry is free of charge for the 5:30 p.m. performance but a cover is placed on the 8:30 p.m. show. Reserve a table or walk in, order up some dinner and take advantage of the dance floor. The club hosts local and traveling musicians of diverse genres and styles, from Dixie and New Orleans themed nights to Salsa and Latin Jazz nights.          

Walk the First Friday Art Market at Blue Star

On the first Friday of each month from 6 to 9 in the evening, galleries and artists spill out into the many corners of the Blue Star Art Market in Southtown. Browse tables and racks of art, photographs, jewelry and thrifted fashion. Makers display everything from oddities to handmade goods to astrology readings. Small galleries show and sell paintings, drawings and sculptures. Multiple restaurants and bars are open as well as one of San Antonio’s favorite gelato companies, South Alamode, which promotes a loyalty program where you can earn free coffee and food. This is a great place to meet the hands and brains behind the art while trying local flavors and loading up on gifts for yourself or family.        

Sign Up for a Workshop at the McNay

Just a short drive up Broadway is the beautiful McNay museum. Though home to extensive traditional galleries, the McNay hosts various speakers and workshops where visitors can get hands on with art and artists. Materials are usually provided and the workshop is included with museum admission. This October you can register for a spot in a one day Stop-Motion Animation class, just in time for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” season. All technology, sets and models are provided but be sure to reserve a place through the website. Screenings of the day’s productions follow the workshop along with refreshments.

Check Out Annual Art Festivals

Watch community calendars and local Facebook event invites for art festivals that have become yearly traditions in San Antonio. In October ArtPace hosts the Chalk It Up! festival where Houston street is covered in chalk murals by children, families and top community artists. Stop by to see work by some of Trinity’s own student groups. In November the city comes together for Luminaria. Artists create stage performances, light installations and pop up galleries for visitors to enjoy while trying food from local chefs and restaurants. Come December you can get all your Christmas shopping done at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Hecho a Mano festival. Artists display and sell traditional and contemporary handmade goods for three days. These events are all usually free to enter. Get to know the city and all its many creative types in one fantastic event.

Spend an Evening at The Playhouse San Antonio

San Antonio is home to an active theater community. The Playhouse is located just off San Pedro Avenue. Visitors can watch local actors take on everything from big productions of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mama Mia to more contemporary and intimate pieces like Constellations. The new season begins this September and runs through next August. Students get discounted tickets that run around $20 per show.   

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My San Antonio is a digital supplement of San Antonio Express News that focuses primarily on community happenings, entertainment, and pop culture. They can be followed on nearly every social media platform, but their email newsletter has the benefit of topic personalization. Subscribe for regular information and updates on things in San Antonio you care about. Selections include arts and entertainment news, weekend guides for exploring the city, the best food and restaurants to try out, and even news on Fiesta.