June 27, 2018

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription

In this issue:

Why I Draw Faces
Some like it hot, some like it cold; cold wax art is becoming popular
University of North Carolina Students Accuse Administration of Artwashing
From paper and paint to gallery walls, Peggy Gomez has what Lincoln artists need
A Residency Invites Artists to Work with Scientists Who Design Art Materials
Spanish Royalty In San Antonio, Takes In '500 Years of Spanish Painting' At Museum Of Art
American Airlines transports priceless masterpieces from Spain to San Antonio





Why I Draw Faces
For a while as a child I had a best friend. We did stupid and dangerous things together.

For a while as a child I had a best friend. He was a boy my own age. We met in 5th grade when he was a new student. He once made a drawing of the Virgin Mary stabbing Baby Jesus while he was in her arms. It was his pieta. The knife plunged deep into the top of the Christ Child’s head, creating what looked like a helmet of blood. At school he was often picked on, pushed around and punched, as was I. I don’t remember him ever fighting back. I fought back. I would charge at my opponents like Wonder Woman with arms flailing like a crazy boy. That year Sister Madeline was our teacher. She was a brutal sadist who chose torture over nurture. She was gone mid-year after a student punched her in self-defense. My friend and I both came from violent, angry and abusive homes and a loudness that was inescapable. The street was no different. It seemed at any given time you could be provoked to fight, often as others cheered on. I hated every bit of it but thought it was normal.

He and I did stupid and dangerous things together. We stole things and blew things up. Between the anger, violence, and abuse we found a place of peace and a way that he could fight back. We drew faces, he and I, there in his basement. With soda and chips we could spend hours creating monsters. I might draw “car accident guy” with Frankenstein-like stitches or a headless priest fresh off the guillotine, spouting blood from his severed neck. His drawings came from a much darker and deeper place. Somewhere in his early teens he stopped drawing; I didn’t. He stopped doing much of anything. Life just spun him around and kicked his ass too many times. Like I said, he never put up much of a fight.

At this time when our spinning ball of mud is racking up crazy points like there is lead in our goblets, I continue to draw faces. It’s the time when I control the darkness. Like god or that crazy boy who fought back. Fifty years later, from the dust of charcoal, my faces emerge with history, humanity and strength. I choose whom to give fight and whom to give pain. When I go deep and personal the drawing greets me and begins to stare back and tell me his or her story. Then I make my decision. Like I said, god-like. Hyperallergic 


Some like it hot, some like it cold; cold wax art is becoming popular

Eloise Shelton-Mayo is known for her belief in the transformative, healing power of art. Her enthusiasm for the cold wax technique brimmed over at a workshop at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center.

“I’ve got so many things to tell you, it’s going to blow your mind,” she told the 11-strong wax workshop on May 12.

The artist first learned about the cold wax technique about 30 years ago when she took a class with Rebecca Crowell, an artist known for her innovative painting techniques.

Previously, Shelton-Mayo worked with the encaustic technique, an ancient media that adds color pigments to beeswax and is applied hot.

“This gets some of the same effects but without using the heat. With encaustic you have to use a heat gun or a blowtorch and you have to heat the paint,” she said. “With this technique you get lots of thin layers, lots of transparency. You can draw into it and get to the lower layers really easily. It has a lot of opportunities,” she said.

Shelton-Mayo lives in Virginia Beach and is an adjunct at the Tidewater Community College Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth.

She said cold wax is an ideal medium for a painter who also loves to draw and likes mixed media.

Cold wax is a painting technique in which wax is mixed with oil colors. The cold wax medium is primarily composed of beeswax with a small amount of solvent to aid in drying time.

The versatility of the cold wax makes it popular with artists. The thick surface is well-suited for applications with a palette knife, while oil-based paints, paint sticks, powdered charcoal and graphite, pastels, and other materials can be mixed into the wax for a variety of effects.

Shelton-Mayo said the technique is becoming increasingly popular. She only teaches a couple of workshops a year, and they fill up fast.

Although artists have used cold wax for centuries, the combination of wax and oil has only been used for about 15 years, Shelton-Mayo said.

Cold wax is a relatively expensive technique. Shelton-Mayo said it’s possible to get started for about $150. She said the cold wax workshop gave students a chance to see if they liked the technique before investing in the materials.

The daylong Portsmouth workshop cost $110 per person, but students were given unlimited use of materials. Many of the students had never used the technique before.

“I’m an oil painter, and I wanted to try something new,” said Colleen Drinkard from Virginia Beach. She has painted for five years since her retirement and was inspired to try the cold wax technique after meeting Shelton-Mayo.

Mariana Kastrinakis drove five hours from Bethesda, Md., to attend the class. She has used water-based materials before but not wax. “I love the versatility of the medium and the teachings,” she said.

Leslie Friedman from Virginia Beach found out about cold wax when she took an art class at TCC. “It’s so cool. I’m not an artist, but I’m learning,” she said.

Stephen Grunnet of the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center said cold wax classes are always popular. “It’s a material you don’t find many classes on. The materials are expensive, but it saves a lot of time because with regular encaustics you have to heat the wax,” he said. The Virginian-Pilot


University of North Carolina Students Accuse Administration of Artwashing
A campus-wide fundraising initiative features the slogan “Arts Everywhere,” but art and art history students feel their needs are being systematically neglected.

CHAPEL HILL, NC: Last month, art students and faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill demanded answers from University Chancellor Carol Folt about Arts Everywhere, a campus-wide development campaign that students claim amounts to art-washing. The students allege that the initiative ignores deficits in departmental resources, hiring, and health-safety standards for student and faculty.

Artist Researchers Together for Higher Education Reform (or ART HERE), a coalition of art and art history students, occupied the Chancellor’s office to present their demands under the banner, “Artists Resist Neoliberalism.” According to the group’s website, ART HERE is “organized in response to unsafe and illegal working conditions in both of the University’s Art Department buildings, faculty loss, and continued divestment from academic art pursuits over the last 20 years.” ART HERE’s 16 demands include hiring tenure track faculty, code compliance and facility repair, living-wage stipends and pay raises for graduate students and departmental staff, and the removal of “Silent Sam,” a divisive Confederate war monument on campus that ART HERE activist call, “a symbol still functioning in tacit defense of slavery and a racist social order.”

Arts Everywhere, which kicked off its second year in April, has drawn the ire of students with public programs and artworks (including painted pianos) spread across campus. Students believe the campus-wide arts celebration disregards the seriousness of research by artists and art historians on campus, obscures systemic bias in Art Department hiring and retention practices, and ignores the pressing need to fix Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations in campus art facilities. Arts Everywhere is just a small part of the Campaign for Carolina, a $4.25 billion fundraising effort that includes a goal of $1 billion to support student scholarships. Arts Everywhere aspires to make art as big as basketball, a nod to the famed Carolina legacy team, but comprises only a $250 million portion of the whole campaign goal.

Built around the development capacity of each department and unit on campus, the campaign’s funding priorities for the arts are almost exclusively in service of the Ackland Art Museum, which recently received gifts of artworks valued at $41.5 million. There is no mention of Art Department funding needs and images of painted pianos in Arts Everywhere promotional materials provide no acknowledgment of the work of student artists. “For us, Arts Everywhere is really about making sure that everyone knows that the arts are for everyone,” Emil Kang, the Special Assistant for the Chancellor for the Arts, says in a promotional video for the campaign. “They’re not just for arts majors or arts faculty or arts patrons, but for everyone.”

The administration reacted quickly to the students’ “Revolt Against Holt” protest. A meeting with Deans, Art Department faculty, and students preceded the occupation of the chancellor’s office, and at the monthly Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) meeting on May 7, Chancellor Folt made a rare appearance, prepared with remarks about the Arts Everywhere campaign.

“I think what people haven’t been understanding is that art is a way to get people excited,” the Chancellor told students and FEC members at the meeting. “I didn’t see this as anything but good. [The protest] was a shock.” That same morning, UNC Department of History graduate student Maya Little appeared in court on vandalism charges for pouring red ink and her own blood on the Silent Sam monument.

* * *

Art Department funding needs and facility violations have been well documented and long discussed with university administration. A 2016 external report compiled by Raleigh-based Hipp Engineering and Consulting, based on a review of the student Art Lab (built in 1976 as a temporary building and still in use today), found multiple health code, fire safety, and OSHA violations.

The report noted that the paint and spray room was missing fire-rated walls, fire suppression systems, and had improper ventilation. The building’s mechanical equipment dated to the building’s construction and had “outlived their service life expectancy.” Only two studios had air conditioning from an HVAC system first installed in 2015 that, according to the report, overloaded existing electrical infrastructure during peak summer hours. “The ceramics, metals, and woodworking shops have no active cooling, and are only conditioned by exhausting air via individual rooftop fans in each room,” the reported noted. “The Art Lab users stated that temperatures in these rooms in the summer can become so excessive that some students have become overheated to the point of passing out.” The report also found evidence of microbial contamination in the duct work, no tempered water throughout the building, and lack of accessible entrances and any accessible restrooms, among other failures in ADA compliance.

Another 2016 external report, auditing the whole Art Department — which contains both art and art history students at the undergraduate and PhD levels — described high levels of academic and departmental ability, curricular development, faculty leadership, and research. It applauded the department for providing students practice, training, and critical engagement in historical and contemporary research and practice. However, the report repeatedly described faculty and student resources as “woefully inadequate” and causing a “heavy burden” that “limit [faculty] ability to contribute service to the department, college, and university.” The report concurred with the Hipp report’s facility assessment, stating that “there are a number of major health and safety concerns that require immediate attention” and called for “a thorough air quality assessment to determine if the ventilation and air quality in the studios are within current acceptable health and safety standards.” The Art Department’s written response to the external report noted that $20,000 of their endowment funds had been used to buy ventilators for the ceramic shop. Traditionally, department endowment funding is reserved for research and faculty support.

Faculty in the Department of Art and Art History note that, since 2011, they have lost a total of seven studio faculty, five of them tenured or on track to receive tenure — including two African American instructors and one Native American instructor. Since then, only one tenure line and two fixed term (three year appointments) have been extended. Only two faculty of color have been hired in the last 8 years, and the recent loss of Assistant Professor Jina Valentine to a post at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago leaves the department without any Black studio faculty. ART HERE activists criticized the administration for a “failed and pathetic retention offer” made to Valentine, and called out the university for not supporting and retaining faculty of color.

“When people leave, it creates big holes in the curriculum,” Valentine told Hyperallergic. “At the same time, the college continues to maintain expectations of the department, despite their operating with less people. The deans of the College of Arts & Sciences recognize the department is at a tipping point, already operating with less resources (human and fiscal) than is needed. Yet they continue to allow faculty to leave and continue to provide inadequate funding.”

* * *

Students and faculty argue that the university’s divestment from humanities in favor of business and science is endemic and can be seen in a pattern of reduced funding, facility decline, and poor faculty retention.

“You don’t raise money from artists, you raise it from business, scientists, and doctors,” Chancellor Folt told FEC members and ART HERE activists, defending the Arts Everywhere campaign. “Art is a way to bring people in, and it tends to get them excited about other things.” Later she added, “People don’t give you money to fix things like water fountains and bad air.”

After the meeting with Folt, Associate Professor of Art History, Cary Levine — who is also a member of the Faculty Executive Committee — said:

It is important to make clear that we are not against Arts Everywhere. It is certainly not the problem in and of itself, and they are doing some fine things, but the state of our facilities, faculty, and funding causes real contrast. … Donors look to [the Chancellor] for what is important, and it is up to her to set the tone and make the case. It is wonderful that she wants UNC to be a leader in the arts, but it would be enormously helpful if we — the academic community as well as potential donors — had a detailed vision of what that would look like and a plan of how to realize it, so we can all jump on board. No one has laid that out. We are instead asked to take it on faith, to join the celebration, while the view from the inside remains pretty dismal.

Responding to a request for comment, a University spokesperson was quick to say that change is underway. Repairs on the Sloane Art Library’s leaky roof are underway. Over $90 million has been raised privately in the last few years in support of arts and arts facilities, including the Department of Music, the Center for Dramatic Arts, and the Ackland Museum, notably in artworks for the collection. The Arts Everywhere campaign has already invested in apps, programming, and public artworks around campus, including installations by artists Nick Chatfield-Taylor, Patrick Dougherty, Mary Carter Taub, Cindy Chang’s “Before I Die” mural, and “Spun” chairs by designer Thomas Heatherwick. A new “Arts Everywhere Painting Studio” was opened in an undergraduate dorm with an associated residential-studio fellowship for an MFA student. All this, campus officials argue, points to University’s outsized commitment to the arts.

Disputing ART HERE’s assertion that the Campaign for Carolina is developed without departmental needs in mind, the University spokesperson said that the overall $4.25 billion campaign goal is pieced together from the fundraising goals and needs of each area and department within the University. Campus officials also stress that gifts to the University are donor-driven, suggesting that private interest in the form of philanthropy predominantly determines the allocation and deployment of resources. For this reason, funding for the arts is directed toward independent institutions on campus with greater development capacities and wealthy boards, while departments, which rarely have development professionals or boards, receive significantly less in private gifts. Even as officials refute ART HERE’s claims, they offer no comment on the decline in faculty tenure (while noting that a new photography professor will start in the fall), disparity in retention practices, or OSHA violations at the Art Lab, which is a separate facility from the Sloane Art Library. Student activists argue that all these factors attest to a pattern of neoliberal privatization across the university system.

Though the University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in the country (it opened in 1795), a Research I university, and considered a legacy institution in the state, it has been dealt heavy budget cuts by the Republican state legislature. Folt lamented that UNC-Chapel Hill has about $800 million of deferred maintenance costs with $235 million in total state cuts since 2008. In response to failing Art Department facilities, the Chancellor said: “Clearly that needs to be on the cue and I’m going to go back to ask for it.”

At a recent planning meeting for ART HERE, Annie Simpson, a BFA student in Studio Art argued, “[Art] is not painting flower pots, it’s not sitting in spinning chairs, it’s not painting pianos,” she said. “It’s an academic pursuit.” The group is preparing for a June 20 meeting with the Provost and discussing plans for a summer campaign. John DeKemper, a first year MFA, echoed Simpson’s sentiment: “Art’s not avocational, it’s vocational.” Hyperallergic 


From paper and paint to gallery walls, Peggy Gomez has what Lincoln artists need

In the early 2000s, Peggy Gomez was working as the print tech in the art department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, for a year, taught printmaking as well.

Working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the print studio, Gomez encountered students who, day after day, expressed consternation with Lincoln’s art supply outlets — at the time, primarily Nebraska Bookstore and Dick Blick Art Materials.

“I would overhear the students just complaining, complaining, complaining — 'I hate going to the bookstore, they’re so rude. I hate having to go out to Blick.’ I thought that someone should open an art supply store and be nice to the students. They could make a lot of money.”

That someone turned out to be Gomez, who found a space at 1028 O St., and scrambled to get the doors of Gomez Art Supply open before school started in late August 2003.

She made it by a few days, and students made their way into the new business to pick up the paper, ink, paint, sketchbooks and other supplies needed for their classes — all stocked by Gomez from supply lists she obtained from art professors.

Fifteen years later, students continue to be a majority of Gomez’s customers, coming into the store, now at 120 N. 14th St., to get supplies.

“If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be in business,” Gomez said. “The student support is huge. The nonstudent part of the demographic grows every year. But it grows slow.”

While Gomez didn’t have a long-contemplated plan to open the store, UNL printmaker Karen Kunc said she could tell that Gomez was going to do more than just study, teach and make art.

“Peggy and I go way back. She was one of my students when she was in undergraduate school,” Kunc said. “She did some outstanding woodblock prints at that time, and we were excited to see her go off to Minnesota for graduate school. When she came back to Lincoln, I think she already had some idea of contributing something to the community.”

Not only did Gomez provide a much-needed, locally owned art-supply store — which, with the closing of Blick and Nebraska Bookstore, is the only such outlet in Lincoln — she opened a gallery that has become an anchor of the downtown art scene.

“It started with the 'Down and Dirty' show in the first space on O Street,” Gomez said. “There was a line out the door, around the corner and down the alley to get into that. We never imagined in a million years that many people would come to a 'Down and Dirty' show.”

That show was held in the basement of the O Street store — which had a dirt floor — and featured works from a mix of artists, a few of them established, but most young and emerging.

The second “Down and Dirty” show got shut down by the city fire inspector.

“The fire inspector, Chuck Schweitzer, came and he was very nice,” Gomez said. “He said, ‘I think what you’re doing is important, but you can’t do it down there. There’s only one way in and one way out.’”

That appeared to be the end of the O Street exhibitions. But a studio space at the back of the building opened up, and in 2005, Gomez and artists Joey Lynch and Jake Gillespie opened Tugboat Gallery.

Tugboat, which primarily shows work by Lincoln and Omaha artists, operated for a year in that space before Gomez’s lease on O Street expired in 2006. She then moved the store to its current location on North 14th and put Tugboat in dry dock.

Two years later, it re-opened above the new Gomez Art Supply, becoming the first notable art space in the Parrish Project.

“There were more galleries then, but nothing like Tugboat,” Gomez said. “We got labeled as alternative. I wouldn’t call it that. We just showed good work. But it wasn’t what other galleries were showing. If you go to a big city, you’ll see spaces like that. Now, on the second story at Parrish, there’s all kinds of little galleries like that.”

For the past decade, Tugboat has been the anchor of the Parrish Project, continuing to hold monthly shows — it’s now at about 140 total — as other galleries and art spaces come and go.

At one point, when one of Gomez’s partners was moving, she said she contemplated closing the gallery.

“I was thinking, ‘Do I want to keep doing this? Maybe it’s time to shut it down,’” Gomez said. “I went to that month’s opening. I saw lots of new faces. It was packed. If people stopped coming, I’d shut it down. But that’s not the case. I’ll keep it going. One of my partners said, ‘It’s stupid how important this gallery is.’ But it is.”

Downstairs at the art supply store, some potential customers who aren't students have told her by phone or online that they're reluctant to venture downtown for shopping.

“To fight that is hard,” she said. “I wish people would be more open-minded about coming downtown.”

Paper is her biggest seller these days, Gomez said, and markers have moved toward the top of the sales list as young artists use them for illustrations, comic books, printmaking and calligraphy.

From brushes and paint to sketchbooks and architectural model-making material, "If we have it in the store, we’re selling it," she said. "If it’s not, it’s out on the street for Pineapple Days.”

As Gomez cuts out a piece of linoleum to use for a print of a squirrel, she describes how she continues to make art as she runs the store and the gallery. But that art, she said, has largely moved away from printmaking.

“I went through a dry spell for a while,” she said. “Now I’m doing found-object collage made up of stuff I find when I’m walking my dogs. The way I look at it is, I’ve got collections — I’ve got these tubs at home and I sort it by color. Then I put it together and try not to control it too much, try to get my mind out of it.”

Regardless of medium, Kunc said, it’s important that Gomez is still making art.

“Knowing she’s continuing doing her art is admirable and important,” Kunc said. “It gives her a link to everybody on the creative side.”

Earlier this month, Gomez received the Heart of the Arts Mayor’s Arts Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding volunteer dedication to the arts or for making a major overall impact on the arts in Lincoln.

The award, Gomez said, wouldn’t have happened had she not decided to open her store.

“If I just was an artist who had a cubicle job, my life would be different,” she said. “I wouldn’t be as involved in the community. It’s interacting with artists all day. … With the award, I want it to be about the gallery, not just me. The gallery has never received any recognition. And the gallery isn’t just me. It’s a lot of people putting in a lot of hours to keep it going.” Lincoln Journal Star


A Residency Invites Artists to Work with Scientists Who Design Art Materials
Winsor & Newton has returned to its roots through the Griffin programs, where artists and scientists benefit from each other’s expertise and perspective.

Winsor & Newton has a long history of collaboration between science and art. The company was founded in 1832 by William Winsor, a scientist, and Henry Newton, an artist, who recognized the need for pigment makers to work in the service of the fine art sector. Winsor & Newton boasts a deep connection to art history, including its patenting of a collapsible metal paint tube with a screw cap that enabled the en plein air painting style of Impressionists like Monet. It also designed the Series 7 kolinsky sable brushes (made by order of Queen Victoria) that would create the standard for watercolor brushes, and consulted on products with some of the biggest names in painting of their time, including J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. Where previously Winsor and Newton were just a couple among a handful of colormen in London, their close connection to the needs of artists allowed them to break away from competition, making them a legacy company that has changed hands several times over nearly 200 years in the color business.

The company is presently a piece of an international conglomerate, ColArt, which represents eight different art-related brands that distribute in 120 countries. Over the years, Winsor & Newton experienced a bit of mission drift, emphasizing standard manufacturing practices above the intersection of artists and scientists. But an initiative created by the ColArt board some five years ago founded the Griffin Gallery and Residency Program, and brought in curator Rebecca Pelly-Fry to develop and direct the gallery, international education program, and unique residency (coordinated by Matthew Gibson), essentially from scratch.

The Griffin suite of programs has exhibited the work of about 300 artists since its inception, and brought at least 50 more through the residency program, which situates artists in proximity to the specialized scientists working in the ColArts Innovation & Development Laboratory in London — allowing both cohorts to benefit from each other’s expertise and perspective on the materials they hold in common.

“When I came into the company, at head office, there was one other person from an art background, out of 100 people,” said Pelly-Fry, in a Skype interview with Hyperallergic. “And then in other countries, there were a couple of artists from an art background — mainly running the education program. It was surprising for me, to come into this organization that is, on the face of it, all about art and artists, and to find that was very, very, very little knowledge about artists, about the art world, about what artists’s need or want or think or feel — or any of that.”

Pelly-Fry and her team have had a tremendous impact on the culture at ColArts, effectively bringing Winsor & Newton back to its roots. The artists coming into the residency studios have also had a palpable influence, through casual, intensive, and surprising pair-ups with members of the Innovation Lab. Artist Bea Haines, for example, applied to the residency with the idea of turning a box of her great-uncle’s ashes into an art pigment.

“She’d been given the ashes by her family, and she knew she wanted to turn them into some kind of artwork,” said Pelly-Fry, “but she’d kept it for several years, really not knowing what to do with it. Artist pigment is basically dust, dirt, ground-up stuff, so she wanted to know whether it would be possible to turn the ashes into a fine enough grain to work, to be stable as an art material. We thought it was an amazing idea and took it to our scientists.” After some initial nervousness about handling human remains, the lab got behind the idea with enthusiasm, and after several experiments and iterations (practicing with ashes from a pet cemetery), Haines made headlines, creating a watercolor with gum Arabic for her great-uncles earthly remains. The artist combined this material with lake water harvested from the place her great-uncle first learned to sail, in the end creating a large, beautiful, and cellular-looking abstract painting.

Artist Piers Secunda builds and casts dimensional sculptures out of industrial and house paints. Secunda came to spend time at the lab in the hopes of gaining insight into how he might make paint that was strong enough to build an actual bridge over water, that people could walk across.

“It’s an extraordinary project, and I think it will take many years to actually achieve it, but the few weeks he spent with us talking to our scientists and laboratory technicians were really helpful — he said it shortcut his research period,” said Pelly-Fry. “In some cases, like with Bea, she did specifically need some of the scientists’ time and spending time in the lab with them and their machines and things. That’s quite unusual. … I think our scientists are constantly learning about how artists use the materials that they meticulously make, and they find it interesting any time an artist is trying to do something with the material that it’s not designed for.”

The Griffin Gallery and Residency Program underscore the way in which artists bring a useful perspective to industry. Though the connection between artists and art supplies is something direct, it is the tendency of artists to break rules or test the limits of materials that is their often unrecognized expertise. As Griffin Gallery closes its doors to enable a new phase — which includes ColArt’s acquisition of the publication Elephant, and a new gallery space called Elephant West that will assume the functions of Griffin Gallery in an improved location — it is fascinating to see the ways that Pelly-Fry and her team have brought artists and corporate culture into a beneficial union. One wonders how other companies might similarly benefit from bringing some professionals into their process who are able to present experiences of a different color. Hyperallergic


Spanish Royalty In San Antonio, Takes In '500 Years of Spanish Painting' At Museum Of Art

For their last day in San Antonio, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain visited the San Antonio Museum of Art.

About 60 journalists, split between local and those covering the visit from outlets in Spain, met the royal couple.

The museum’s director Katie Luber said there's much to see in their new "500 Years of Spanish Painting" exhibit.

"Great paintings from eight of the most important museums in Madrid, on the occasion of our city's tricentennial," she said.

That tricentennial is the reason why the royals visited San Antonio, though Luber says the exhibition's origins actually predate the scheduled visit.

"We were planning this for many, many years, and we like to think that this exceptional exhibition was part of the reason that the king and queen were excited to come to San Antonio," she said.

As to what the exhibition covers, Luber said the title “500 Years of Spanish Painting” spans the Gothic era, through the Renaissance and El Siglo De Oro, which is the 17th century, through the age of Enlightenment, “and looking to the 19th century, and ending with Picasso, who is the great triumph of Modernism."

Mayor Ron Nirenberg spent time with the royals during their tour of the Alamo City.

"They were very appreciative of the diversity of our culinary community,” he said. “In fact, I had long discussion with the king about how much the culinary community has driven trade and tourism."

During their stay, the king and queen dined at the Pearl on food cooked by the city's culinary superstars, Johnny Hernandez, Elizabeth Johnson and Steven McHugh.

"Certainly, we were glad to bring out three of our top chefs here in San Antonio," he said. Texas Public Radio


American Airlines transports priceless masterpieces from Spain to San Antonio
Works from El Greco, Goya, Picasso and others on display as part of San Antonio’s tricentennial celebration

American Airlines Cargo proudly transported priceless Spanish art from locations around the globe to San Antonio for the city’s tricentennial celebration. The works by El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso and other masters will be displayed at the San Antonio Museum of Art exhibition, “Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting from the Museums of Madrid,” from June 23 to Sept. 16. American Airlines Cargo is an official sponsor.

The exhibition will include more than 40 masterpieces from eight different collections, including the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

Transporting these unique pieces of art, many of which have never before been shown in the United States, required a special level of care. The paintings are not only extremely valuable, they are also priceless as cultural artifacts. The team at American Airlines Cargo knew the masterpieces needed a high level of security and careful handling.

American Airlines team members partnered with freight forwarding specialists in four countries to ensure the paintings were handled with great care. The transferring required a significant amount of time, effort and coordination.

Due to the value of the artwork, security officials were involved at every stage of the transport, including loading and unloading, packaging and processing through Customs. Representatives from American Airlines oversaw this process to ensure that the paintings were never out of sight and always accompanied by a museum representative. In the end, the conveyance was seamless and the works of art arrived at their destination safely and on time.

“These works of art are incredibly important to the city of San Antonio as they celebrate their tricentennial,” said Sandy Scott, director of Europe and Asia Cargo Operations for American Airlines. “Of course, safely and securely transporting priceless Picasso and El Greco works across the globe is no easy task. This project required our team members to work together in a creative way while also partnering seamlessly with multiple outside companies in four different countries. While it was a huge undertaking, I’m proud that it was a success thanks to our teams’ dedication to protecting their cargo — no matter what it is — and ensuring a safe and timely delivery.”

San Antonio’s tricentennial celebrates the founding of the city in 1718 by Spanish Franciscan missionaries and includes events throughout the year. American Journal of Transportation