After being closed for over a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Culture Commons, a San Antonio gallery that brings together art and civic conversations, recently reopened with an exhibition that examines issues faced by local women. The storefront art space, which is located behind City Hall, in the Plaza de Armas Building, is run by the city’s Department of Arts & Culture.
The Status of Women in San Antonio features artworks by fifteen local women artists who are responding directly to a 2019 report (of the same name) which was commissioned by the City of San Antonio. Authored by Rogelio Sáenz, Ph.D. and Lily Casura, MSW for the University of Texas at San Antonio, the report outlines issues related to health, education, work, economics, housing, crime, violence, civic engagement, and more.
While the report revealed positive findings in the areas of education, voter registration, and homeownership, it also pointed to major challenges. Some of these include pay disparities, underrepresentation of women on City boards and commissions, a lack of access to technology and transportation, higher risk levels of being a victim of violent crime, and maternal mortality. Additionally, the report highlights that many of these issues affect Latina and African American women at higher rates than white and Asian women.
Artworks in the exhibition at Culture Commons tackle these issues facing San Antonio women and include a variety of mediums, from painting and fiber art to photographic constructions and multimedia works.
In the press release announcing the exhibition, Mayor Ron Nirenberg stated, “Through this platform, these artists are revealing aspects of culture and behavior that we need to change to improve the health and mental wellbeing for women in San Antonio. These artworks help viewers visualize and understand the issues around gender inequality outlined in the report and invite them to take action.”
Department of Arts & Culture Interim Executive Director Krystal Jones added, “Throughout history, artists have been at the forefront of societal discussions and issues, often influencing positive change with conversations sparked by their work. These artworks were designed and developed to be powerful catalysts that address the barriers that research shows women in San Antonio face daily. We hope each person that views this exhibition has an empathetic experience that inspires positive change for our community.”
Participating artists include:
Jennifer Ling Datchuk
Adriana M. Garcia
Carmen Johnson Alexander
To learn more about the exhibition and related programming, visit the Culture Commons Gallery website. The show will be on view through November 18.