Stone sculptor Cody Vance looks forward to engaging in conversation with visitors, who will watch him work at his Jefferson neighborhood home, during his second year of participating in the annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour.
“People can walk into a number of artists’ homes and studios and get to see how they live and work,” said Vance, who is also a military graphic artist and illustrator. “They also give us great feedback.”
Vance has invited local painters Russell Stephenson and Charles Ingram to work alongside him during the 8th annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, and noon to 5 pm Sunday, Feb. 22 in San Antonio’s historic Deco District.
“Fred,” as the celebrated event is known, is a self-guided tour of private homes, art studios and galleries of more than 65 artists, including painters, sculptors, photographers and metal smiths. In addition, more than 200 musicians, poets, and theater and dance groups help make this community event one of the most diverse studio tours in the nation.
Last year, more than 2,000 locals and visitors walked, biked and drove up and down Fredericksburg Road to get a first-hand look at the artists working in their studios and to purchase their art, said Kellen McIntyre, executive director of Bihl Haus Arts, which presents the Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour each year.
“It’s the only time of the year these art studios are open in such large numbers in one weekend,” McIntyre said. “You can come with friends and plan on having brunch or a snack at one of the nearby restaurants when you’re ready to take a break, or pack a picnic lunch. You’ll get to see how artists live and work, and can purchase or commission work directly from the artists.”
Attendees can purchase a color catalog consisting of a map to help people plan their route, artist bios and an image of their work for $10. For more information, visit www.OnandOffFred.org or call Bihl Haus Arts at (210) 383-9723.
McIntyre, who has lived in the Monticello neighborhood of the Deco District for the past 20 years, was a founding member of the studio tour, which was created in 2005. Now in its 8th year, she envisions the major art event as helping brand and bringing exposure and economic growth to the Fredericksburg Road area. “I want to use Fred to help bring people to the neighborhood, to see how beautiful the homes are and the environment we live in,” she said. “I would like to see more restaurants, a bookstore and small businesses open here. We’re here to enhance the neighborhood. Fredericksburg Road was stagnant for so long, and we’re starting to see it come alive.”
The Deco District has also become a mecca for many of the Alamo City’s artists. In fact, all artists participating in Fred live and/or work in the surrounding Fredericksburg Road communities: Alta Vista, Beacon Hill, Jefferson, Keystone, Los Angeles Heights, Monticello Park and Woodlawn. This fact makes the Fred studio tour singular.
“Three years ago, we didn’t have Jump-Start Performance Co., Woodlawn Theatre or the Classic Theatre. They are new nonprofits to the area,” the executive director said. “I’m not saying it’s because of the tour, but we have helped make the area more art and artist friendly. It’s a great place for artists to live. We have Woodlawn Lake, little pocket parks, wonderful architecture and a great vibe.”
Artist David Zamora Casas, who will also participate this year, believes Fred lets the public know about the thriving art community along the Fredericksburg Road corridor. “It creates great interaction between artist and viewer, and it promotes an understanding and collaboration of the arts and gives artists value.”