Blue Star Contemporary, the longest running contemporary art nonprofit in San Antonio, has announced a new name, graphic identity, and website. The organization will now be known as Contemporary at Blue Star, and its updated logo takes a simplified approach with text that reads, “Contemporary,” accompanied by a small dark blue star.
Last year, the organization held a series of community focus groups with artists, educators, donors, program participants, community leaders, and the organization’s founders. Led by brand strategist Leigh M. Baldwin, these sessions investigated the institution’s past, current, and future role in the community. These discussions shaped the Contemporary’s new name and its new graphic identity, which was created by local graphic designer Jamie Stolarski.
In a press release announcing the institutional changes, Mr. Stolarski commented, “We worked closely with the staff, board, and arts community to gather input on how best to convey the institution’s professionalism, inclusivity, and support for artists, while providing distinction between it and the Complex and its commercial spaces…The iconic, deeply saturated cobalt blue used by artists such as Yves Klein, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Anni Albers, and others, as well as shifting the brand name to the Contemporary, emphasize the art space’s true focus.”
This rebranding of the Contemporary works toward eliminating some of the confusion around its name in relation to the larger Blue Star Arts Complex. Since 1986, the Contemporary has been an anchor tenant in the Complex, which is a multi-building development that now features restaurants, studio spaces, galleries, and shops.
For its new website (contemporarysa.org), the Contemporary hired Spellerberg Associates, a firm specializing in museums and cultural institutions. Community feedback sessions helped inform the design to ensure that the updated site is user-friendly, accessible, and engaging.
Mary Heathcott, the Contemporary’s Executive Director, remarked, “We are entering a new era of reinvention and positive change…During the community feedback process, we asked, ‘What is the promise we make to the community?’ and the answer consistently returned to: Contemporary Art for San Antonio, which is actually our incorporated name. To honor this history as an artist-centric home for contemporary art in San Antonio, celebrate the community we’ve built over the last 36 years, and prioritize our mission, the Contemporary at Blue Star felt like the right choice to lead us into the future.”
Contemporary at Blue Star invites the public to celebrate this significant moment during its First Friday Block Party on Friday, October 7 at 6 pm.