With a sense of restored awareness of humanity in the midst of a global health crisis, one unsurprising refuge has been the arts, which provide us a source of solace and escape and offers connection within communities suspended in solitude. While countless daily distractions and demands have been set aside, many of us have turned our attention to art and the vital role artists play in capturing and expressing our lives & world.
Overland has long recognized the contributions artists have made in our communities, and as architects, we feel almost intrinsically linked to art and art history. Combining our reverence for the arts with an opportunity to support and collaborate with the San Antonio art community, the Art Program @ Overland was established in 2015 for advocacy of art, architecture, and the significance of the two in union. Core ambitions of the program include promoting local artists, providing alternative opportunities to traditional galleries, and inviting art to guide the architectural design process.
For 5 years, the program has curated rotating galleries of local artists’ work throughout Overland’s office – the rehabilitated Hughes Warehouse in northern downtown, San Antonio. The program has showcased an assortment of art, including bold textile compositions by 2019 DoSeum Artist-in-Residence Amada Miller, vivid paintings by Rex Hausmann of The Hausmann Millworks, a series of artists with Ruiz-Healy Art including wood-block prints by UTSA professor and former Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Resident Ricky Armendariz, illusory sculptures by Cade Bradshaw of Bridge Projects, prints of typographical humor by the infamous Gary Sweeney, and most recently, gyotaku fish-prints from artists of the San Antonio Zoo’s art co-op, Project Selva.
Each exhibition is launched with a presentation and conversation wherein Overland is introduced to the artist and art-making processes featured in each show. Many of which have been followed by interviews with program directors diving deeper into the artist’s background, conceptual discoveries, career markers, and overall artistic mission. Receptions at Overland offer our art community, local partners, project teams and clients, friends, and families to personally meet the featured artist, tour the exhibition, and engage in dialogue about the processes and ideas presented through the work.
The Art Program @ Overland has also introduced opportunities for the advocacy of both arts & architectural education. Most recently, at the AIA San Antonio Latinos in Architecture Family Design Day 2019, in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, the program held art-making activities to ideate on the fundamental components of art that shape our built environment. Additionally, the Art Program @ Overland has long promoted continued education for employees, including arts education and touting courses offered by the firm’s neighbors at the Southwest School of Art, of which the Art Program @ Overland has featured educator Margaret Craig’s intricate plastic & print reef installations.
In addition to working with local artists on exhibitions, the art program has established a more formalized voice in campaigning for the integration of art into the practice and composition of architectural design, which has long been a fixture of Overland’s creative process. Collaborating with world-renowned artists across the US on various design efforts, several Overland projects have epitomized the power of art and architecture in union. Most notably are Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin and James Turrell’s The Color Inside Skyspace, in which the two are so seamlessly implemented, the traditional lines of division between the artwork and architecture are indistinguishable. Other projects have empowered opportunities for art to play a featured role in designed spaces, such as Gordon Huether’s Glass Wall at the Bridge Homeless Assistance Center, Ned Kahn’s Feather Wall at the University Health System Downtown Campus, and a large cast of artists featured in curated gallery spaces at the Grande Cheese Home Office & Research Center.
Although young, the Art Program @ Overland celebrates its establishment over the last five years as a unique and growing fixture in the evolving San Antonio art community, as well as a formalized resource and advocate for the context of art in architecture. While looking ahead at this time presents many uncertainties about the nature of the post-pandemic world, the Art Program @ Overland takes a position of optimism and opportunism, inspired by art communities around the world. Local institutions such as Ruby City, McNay Art Museum, and San Antonio Museum of Art have turned trials into triumph, forging ahead with inventive ways to connect quarantined communities with galleries around the world, thus igniting discussion at Overland about new means of art advocacy and access in an increasingly digital world. The Art Program @ Overland’s mission for action in the support and promotion of the arts will continue to expand, outlining innovative, collaborative, and educational opportunities ahead, powered by a tremendous and ever-growing network of local support and enthusiasm.
For inquiries about the Art Program @ Overland, including exhibition opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org