The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center grew out of a grassroots response by local artists and volunteers when the San Antonio Museum of Art cancelled a contemporary arts exhibit in 1985. Located in a 1920’s warehouse on the southern fringe of downtown San Antonio, the center has been a catalyst for revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood by attracting a mixed-use re-development of artists and people who established studios, lofts, galleries, performance space, retail, and design offices.

The center has become a destination for new art in South Texas, sponsoring over 20 annual exhibitions including both local and nationally recognized artists. The Blue Star is a hub of the downtown First Friday art walk and established Contemporary Art Month held every July with 70 participating venues throughout the city.

Being tourists in town, we traveled from our hotel to the arts district on public transportation that served the Blue Star Art Loop — which was obviously marked by artist-made bus stops and signs that kept us on the trail. We like the urban aesthetic that runs throughout the district, helping to blend the old with the new.

These photos are from a couple of years ago. The look of the neighborhood may be changing soon, since Proposition 4 and the San Antonio’s 2012-2017 Bond Program was approved by voters in May of 2012. The proposition earmarks $29.03M for Library, Museum, and Cultural Arts Facilities, with $250,000 going to the Blue Star to start their capital campaign to expand the building and programs. Looks like grassroots efforts can help get voters to approve bigger future projects!