TRANSFORMING OUR NOTIONS OF THE POWER OF ART #IMAGININGSANANTONIO
— FOUNDING CULTURAL AGENT FABIOLA TORRALBA
I became a Cultural Agent because I believe in the transformative power of art. I set out to make the Imagining an opportunity for individuals to engage creatively with each other.
The Imagining was stationed within a vibrant community garden at the Southwest Workers Union site and was hosted by Mujeres Mercado, a celebration and exposition of female artisans and traditional healers' work on July 12, 2014. The event was blessed by a local female pastor who acknowledged the creative force within each of us and thanked each of the women artists and educators for enacting their work.
Participants were then drawn onto the Imagining site by a beautiful hand painted banner by artist Elizabeth Trevino and into a circus like campground that included family friendly activities facilitated by Mary Cantu of SpareParts, artist and educator Ernesto Olivo, and film producer Erik Bosse. The banner read "Imagining San Antonio Texas 2014" and helped to frame the tone of the event with depictions of flowers budding from naked tree branches surrounding the lettering. Like the art work, the San Antonio Imagining was another budding moment in our city's dedicated community art scene that would continue a dialogue about the role of art in our lives.
Participants sat in one of two group facilitated workshops in tent like rooms bordered by flowing fabrics of purple, golds, and reds. Here they were asked to consider, "What will San Antonio look like in 2034 when arts transformative power is fully integrated into all aspects of public life?" Moved and inspired by the thought of our future cultural landscape, they were then set on the task to creatively address the prompt. What emerged from the groups were magazine collages, creative story telling, and friendship bracelets that affirmed and acknowledged the interdependence and uniqueness of each of our own stories and communities.
The Imagining's tone was lighthearted and inspiring as children created alongside their parents and their grandparents, and old and newly made friends beside one another. The experience was drawn to a close as participants were asked to verbally reflect on the future of art in San Antonio in front of a hand painted banner that echoed our leading question. The communal response was, when our communities are engaged creatively in shared dialogue about our lives, we are already there!