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Located on the San Antonio River, the Blue Star Arts Complex is a mixed-use property that includes the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and other art-related businesses. Founded in 1986, Blue Star continues to be an incubator for contemporary art in San Antonio, hosting over twenty exhibitions each year within its four on-site galleries and multiple offsite locations within the community. After receiving a significant donation from the Kronkosky Foundation, the art museum rebranded in 2023 with a slate of new exhibits, workshops, classes, and events. The First Fridays Art Walk, which offers free admission to the museum, remains one of the city's most popular recurring events. The Blue Star Arts Complex is adjacent to the trailhead for the Mission Reach extension of the San Antonio River Walk.

Blue Star Arts Complex

Sky, Cloud, Window, Plant

Artist views her upcoming exhibit

Sleeve, Art, Font, Fashion design

Botanical art workshop at Blue Star Arts

Glasses, Smile, Organism, Cloud

Footwear, Furniture, Table, Chair

A student hangs a painting created at the botanical art workshop

Automotive design, T-shirt, Engineering, Machine

The results of the botanical art workshop

World, Blue, Azure, Textile

Students gathering natural materials from the river for a 'pressed flowers' art workshop

Plant, Sky, Cloud, Natural landscape

Blue Star Provisions is located at the Blue Star Arts Complex

Food, Natural foods, Fruit, Whole food

Brick gallery and event space at the Blue Star Arts Complex

Window, Building, City, Tree

Blue Star Arts Complex is adjacent to the trailhead for Mission Reach

Cloud, Plant, Sky, Window

In the 1700s, this land was part of the agricultural fields at the Mission San Antonio de Valero (known as 'the Alamo'). By the 1860s, a German neighborhood was established here, and this area was eventually designated as the King William Historic District. Though the neighborhood fell into decline in the 1960s, it enjoyed a revitalization in the 1980s, coinciding with the development of Blue Star Arts. In 1985, the brick warehouse building that previously belonged to the Blue Star Ice and Cold Storage Company was purchased by Bernard Lifshutz and Hap Veltman. They began to transform the run-down, nearly vacant warehouse into a revitalized commercial and cultural space. When the San Antonio Museum of Art had to cancel one of its big exhibitions the following year, Lifshutz and Veltman stepped up and offered to host the event, temporarily converting one of the warehouse docks into a gallery space for the art show. Their risk paid off, and the result was the establishment of Blue Star Arts.

Around the same time, the City of San Antonio began to extend the original River Walk beyond downtown to reach the King William neighborhood south of the city. However, the trail stopped just short of Alamo Street and the Blue Star Arts building. It was not until 2010 that the new Eagleland Segment of the trail was established, eventually connecting the King William section of the River Walk with the new Mission Reach trail, which was completed in 2013 as part of the San Antonio River Improvement Project. The Blue Star Arts Complex is currently situated adjacent to the trailhead for this eight-mile Mission Reach trail that leads south to the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Proximity to the San Antonio River also provides students with access to natural materials and inspiration the classes and workshops held at the Blue Star Arts Complex. Popular workshops include art made from "pressed flowers," as well as the creation of blue and white botanical paintings resembling the cyanotypes of early photography, because of their rich blue tint.

Anchored by the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, one of the city's premiere destinations for art exhibitions, the Blue Star Arts Complex is also home to many retail shops, restaurants, smaller galleries, art studios, and pop-up events. Other major tenants at the building include KPSA (a local radio station); the Blue Star Brewery (established in 1996); Blue Star Collective (a cooperative organization for artists, photographers, and other creatives); Brick Gallery (an experimental space); Slab Cinemas (an independent arthouse theater); San Angel Folk Art (eclectic art from around the world); and many other local art-related enterprises. The Blue Star Arts Complex also participates in the First Fridays initiative, a collaboration with other galleries and business located on South Alamo Street between South St. Mary's and Probandt Street. On the first Friday of each month, visitors can view the exhibits and retail spaces for free admission. First Fridays is one of the most popular recurring events in San Antonio.

About, Blue Star Arts Complex. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.

Commercial tenants, Blue Star Arts. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.

Contemporary at Blue Star Arts, Blue Star Arts Contemporary Art Museum Facebook Page. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.

Courtney, James. "Local art community cautiously resuming First Friday activity", San Antonio Report. November 9th, 2020. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.

Frank, Nicholas. "Travel through time and space in two exhibitions at The Contemporary at Blue Star", San Antonio Report. March 3rd, 2023. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.

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Blue Star Arts

San Antonio Express

Blue Star Arts Facebook Page

Blue Star Arts Facebook Page

Blue Star Arts Facebook Page

Blue Star Arts Facebook Page

Blue Star Arts Facebook Page

Blue Star Arts

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Blue Star Arts