Contemporary at Blue Star has announced Christie Blizard, Juan Carlos Escobedo, Theresa Newsome, and Rubio as its 2023-2024 Berlin Residency Program artists.
In a press release, Mary Heathcott, Executive Director of Contemporary at Blue Star, remarked, “We are thrilled to congratulate the four talented artists selected for the Berlin residency program. Opportunities like these allow artists to expand their horizons and explore new creative avenues and also play a crucial role in fostering cultural exchange and understanding. We are proud to support our artists as they take this international stage.”
Established in 2013, the Berlin Residency Program selects four artists from Bexar County to take part in a three-month residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (KB), a prestigious international residency studio program. Each year KB hosts 25 artists, and often the artists selected by the Contemporary are the only U.S. representatives in the program.
The 2023-2024 artists were chosen by a panel including Jacqueline Chao, the Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Asian Art at the Dallas Museum of Art; Angelika Jansen, an independent curator and Contemporary at Blue Star Advisory Board Member; Lana S. Meador, the Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art; Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray, the Curator and Exhibitions Manager at the Contemporary at Blue Star; Ryan Takaba, a Berlin Residency Program alum artist and Associate Professor of Art at the University of Texas at San Antonio; and Asmaa Walton, an arts educator and Founder and Curator of Black Art Library.
During their residency, each artist will be provided with a studio and living space, access to workshops and exhibition opportunities, and studio visits with international curators. The artists will also be featured in the dual-language and internationally distributed BE magazine. Additionally, with support from the City of San Antonio’s Global Engagement Office, the artists will travel to San Antonio’s Sister City of Darmstadt for a mini-residency at Atelier Siegele. Atelier Siegele is a residency program maintained by Darmstädter Sezession, an association of artists that collaborated with the Contemporary for its 2021’s PROJECTION/PROJEKTION video program.
Learn more about the Berlin Residency Program selected artists below, via descriptions provided by Contemporary at Blue Star.
CHRISTIE BLIZARD is a multimedia artist based in San Antonio, Texas. They received their MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and have exhibited their work both nationally and internationally. Blizard’s work often explores themes of identity, memory, and nostalgia, and incorporates a range of materials including found objects, video, and performance.
They were born in rural Indiana and live and work in Texas. Their work moves between music, poetry, and visual art, in an attempt to communicate beyond the death dimension. Since communicating with the ghost of Daniel Johnston in 2021, they have been working on their first full length album to be released in 2024 and hope to go on tour with the work very soon.
Mx. Blizard was a participant of Skowhegan in 2018 and attended MacDowell and Artpace. Their work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, School of Visual Arts, Black Mountain College, Good Morning America, the Roswell UFO Convention, and the Today show. They have been featured in Hyperallergic, ArtNews, Art in America, and NY Arts Magazine. Recent and upcoming performances include those at Cloaca Projects in San Francisco, Interference Fest in Austin, TX, Ballroom Marfa, Skowhegan headquarters in NYC, and an opera in Fort Worth, TX at the Cowtown Coliseum. In the summer of 2023, they will be a resident at the Horizon Art Foundation in Los Angeles.
JUAN CARLOS ESCOBEDO (b.1985, El Paso, TX) explores their identity as a brown, queer, Mexican-American raised in a low-socioeconomic community along the US/Mexico border. The work addresses residual class and race shame that arises from living in a predominantly white United States which favors light-skinned individuals and middle-class and above socioeconomic classes.
Mx. Escobedo received a BFA from New Mexico State University and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Their work has been exhibited in group shows San Antonio at Contemporary at Blue Star, Centro de Artes, and The Southwest School of Art; in Boston at MassArt X SOWA; and in Darmstadt, Germany at Darmstädter Sezession. They have also been exhibited as a solo artist at Galveston Art Center and Clamplight Studio in Texas.
Their work has been recognized through awards and grants, including a Collective Futures Fund Grant from Tufts University Art Galleries: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as a consultant; an Actos de Confianza Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures; a Luminaria Artist Foundation Professional Development Grant; and a residency with Casa Lü in Mexico City.
THERESA NEWSOME (b. 1993, Lancaster, Pennsylvania) is an interdisciplinary photographer whose work explores the concepts of racial identity, history, and gender. She explores significant instances of African-American history and its underlying effects on contemporary Black culture.
She received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX and an MFA from Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Her work has been exhibited at 500x Gallery in Dallas, TX, multiple galleries throughout the United States, and has been featured in the 2019 FotoSeptiembre Photography Festival. Her research and work have been published in the 2018 edition of Focal Plane Magazine, Photo Emphasis, and Dallas Voyage Magazine. She currently works as an artist and lecturer in San Antonio, TX.
RUBIO is a painter and muralist based in San Antonio, Texas who has exhibited his work in galleries and museums throughout Texas and beyond. Rubio’s work often draws inspiration from his Mexican-American heritage, incorporating traditional iconography and symbolism. He has taught at UTSA, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, the Bexar County Detention Center, and Contemporary at Blue Star. His work has been exhibited at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, South Texas Institute for the Arts, and Artpace among others.