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From the Director

It does take a village, and, in the case of San Antonio, a mayor and a city council proactive in the arts. Phil Hardberger, the mayor in question, recognizes art as the soul of the city and knows that cities need souls in order to survive, grow, prosper, and foster the things that we as humans cherish no matter where we live.

Recently I was a guest at WAX, a writers and artists exchange organized by Bill Fitzgibbons and Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, together with other San Antonio-area cultural organizations, businesses, and individuals that share Hardberger’s belief in art and then act on it. Invitees included writers from a variety of publications, including Artnews, Art & Auction, and the New York Times. The conference was intended not only to share ideas among writers, but also to demonstrate what San Antonio is doing. (In this respect, WAX might be a good model for other cultural organizations interested in creating dialogue and exchange.) We looked at art in public settings, private collections, and museums and galleries. There was a lot to see and learn and most importantly a passionate citizenry to engage. The people of San Antonio seem to understand that better communities are born where art is permitted to thrive. One notable example, “Tool Yard,” was a collaborative effort realized by city agencies, a young sculptor named Riley Robinson, and a public art manager. Workers in this maintenance depot turned art installation felt that they had a special place to work—their sense of the work environment and of their own labor was given greater merit through imaginative redesign.

For many of us who saw the birth of public art in America this is not surprising, and yet questions such as “how does art fit into the city scheme” or “how can we plan for new sites and the enhancement of existing sites” continue to require exploration as cities around the world expand and the demand for art grows.

I know that these efforts don’t stop in Texas, or New York, or Chicago, or London to name but a few cities with active art cultures that are financially and spiritually supported and nurtured by officials and citizens. The real question is where else?

We want to hear from you if you live in a city that supports the creation of art or underscores the life of the city by the art programs it maintains. We hope in the future to present a series of interviews and discussions from the politicians’ point of view that deals with the need, success, and importance of art in their respective communities. If you know of someone we should be talking to, let us know. Send your suggestions to <>. We look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Klein
ISC Executive Director

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