Sala Diaz Acquires Neighboring Property, Receives $50K Grant, and Announces 2023 Artists

by Jessica Fuentes January 5, 2023

Sala Diaz, a nonprofit exhibition space in San Antonio’s Cultural Arts District, has announced its acquisition of a new building, as well as details of its 2023 programs and exhibiting artists.

A composite photograph showing the Sala Diaz original property and the neighboring house which was recently purchased by the organization.

Sala Diaz’s newly acquired property, Compound House.

During the summer of 2022, an anonymous donor purchased and donated a property neighboring Sala Diaz. The home, located at 521 Stieren Street, is identical to the 1910 residential duplex which houses Sala Diaz and the organization’s residency program, Casa Chuck. It was also one of five houses owned by San Antonio art patron Mike Casey and rented to artists. In October 2021, the San Antonio Heron reported that developer Chris Coker and a partner purchased the 521 property, along with two other houses that were once owned by Mr. Casey. At the time, Sala Diaz board members were in discussions about purchasing one of the homes as part of the organization’s expansion plans.

Prior to its donation, the duplex at 521 Stieren, called Compound House by Sala Diaz, was equipped with a new roof and foundation, and its interior was stripped down to the studs. The space will host short-term rentals throughout the year, generating revenue to support the organization’s exhibitions and residency program. Additionally, Sala Diaz plans to update the landscaping of both properties, and to create an office and storage space.

Last fall, Sala Diaz was among five Texas arts spaces to receive grant funding from the Milwaukee-based Ruth Foundation for the Arts, a new organization supported by a bequest from the late Ruth DeYoung Kohler II, who was a museum director and educator. While Ballroom Marfa received a multi-year Thought Leaders grant totaling $300,000, Sala Diaz, along with Houston-based organizations DiverseWorks, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, and Project Row Houses, each received a Core Grant of $50,000.

A photograph of artist Kat Cadena standing in front of a large-scale mural of two figures submerged in water, looking at each other above the surface and touching hands.

Kat Cadena, “And yet, we bloom,” 2020, acrylic mural, 10 x 20 feet. Location: Intersection of E Houston St. & Navarro St. San Antonio, Texas.

This summer, Sala Diaz will pilot a new program in which a selected artist will take over its existing gallery and use it as a studio space. Kat Cadena, a San Antonio-based multimedia artist, was selected as the inaugural Summer Studio artist by Sala Diaz Board President Ethel Shipton.

A drawing on paper of a distorted female figure

Kim Bishop, “I Carry You,” 2022, graphite on paper, 5 x 3 feet.

In a press release, the organization also announced that its 2023 exhibitions will feature women artists, in response to the diminishing of women’s rights. This is likely a reference to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022. Exhibiting artists include Kim Bishop, Barbara Felix, Cristina Cardenas, Mari Hernandez, and Kat Cadena.


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Tami Kegley January 5, 2023 - 12:02

Congratulations! We’ll deserved all around. Exciting programming for 2023. A great line up of women artists.

Josef E. Garza January 6, 2023 - 11:40

I hope this becomes San Antonio’s “AGT” that will open the doors to artists from all walks of life. Let it turn into an art district to the likes of Mexico City’s “El Palenque”, known by all the world art centers.

Jen H. January 12, 2023 - 13:37

Was excited about this news until learning the newly-acquired home with be a short term rental. Short term rentals have destroyed the neighborhood’s culture and only contribute to the housing shortage and outrageous prices in San Antonio. We need more neighbors and fairly-priced housing. Neighbors make neighborhoods. Here’s hoping after researching the damage of STRs to vibrant neighborhoods and after seeing how many already cover the area, Sala Diaz will rent the home longterm. It’s the progressive and ethical thing to do for a neighborhood which has embraced Sala Diaz and the creative community for decades.


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