Heyd Fontenot, who was publicly announced as the consulting Director of Sala Diaz in March 2021, is leaving his position at the organization. Ethel Shipton, Sala Diaz’s board president, will step down from her role on the board to take on the directorship. The organization is currently in the process of electing a new board president.
Mr. Fontenot began working at Sala Diaz in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time he helped pivot the organization’s programming schedule, taking into account the public safety concerns of the pandemic. Mr. Fontenot also worked toward larger changes, including arranging for the organization’s archives to be permanently housed at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and extending Sala Diaz’s artist and curator residency program, Casa Chuck. (Mr. Fontenot was himself a Casa Chuck resident in 2019.)
Mr. Fontenot told Glasstire, “Sala Diaz has been such an important place from which to offer artists, writers and curators a platform. Just thinking back over the last three years, even during a pandemic, there were still ways to engage with the community and other institutions like Ruby City and UTSA. I love being able to introduce out-of-town folks to San Antonio and help them learn more about the local scene and local artists.”
He explained that by utilizing the organization’s properties of Casa Chuck and Sala Diaz (which are two sides of a duplex in San Antonio’s Southtown neighborhood), he was able to offer hospitality to visitors, which then would sometimes grow into longer-term projects. One example Mr. Fontenot shared was of New Art Examiner writer Darren Jones. Though the publication is based in Chicago, it covers art on an international scale. While Mr. Jones was visiting Sala Diaz, he was able to commission local writers and give San Antonio a presence on the magazine’s cover.
As an artistic peer and neighbor to Sala Diaz founder, Alejandro Diaz, Ms. Shipton has been involved with the organization since its inception in 1995. She is taking the reins during a time of transition and growth for the organization — earlier this year, the art space announced it had acquired a neighboring property, which it plans to use for short-term rentals. Mr. Fontenot will remain in an advisory role with the organization as he plans to relocate his studio to Europe this year.
Of his decision to step down from his position, Mr. Fontenot told Glasstire, “I have loved living in San Antonio and working with Sala Diaz — the decision to leave Sala Diaz/San Antonio/Texas/the U.S. has more to do with me focusing on my own studio practice.”
Congratulations to Heyd on an important job well done and best wishes for a safe and productive time in Europe.
Thank you to Heyd for his wonderful work in every medium including reality.