Artist Kathleen Trenchard, who has lived in the Woodlawn Lake community for five years, has seen her neighborhood slowly evolve, which she partly attributes to the annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour that offers great exposure to the area, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
Visitors can discover for themselves what makes the communities along Fredericksburg Road charming and quaint. “People come to the neighborhoods and once they visit the homes and studios, this area gets a good reputation as a nice place to live,” she said.
Trenchard is one of more than 70 artists who will display their works during the 9th annual On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, and noon to 5 pm Sunday, Feb. 21 in the Deco District.
“Fred,” as the event is known, is a self-guided tour of private homes, art studios and galleries of more than 70 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 2,500 locals and visitors walked, biked and drove up and down a 5-mile stretch of 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 purchase or commission work directly from the artists.”
Attendees can purchase either the hardcopy color catalog consisting of a map to help people plan their route, artist bios and an image of their work, or the online catalog for $10. For more information, visit www.OnandOffFred.org or call Bihl Haus Arts at (210) 383-9723.
Trenchard, who has participated in Fred for the past three years, will show new works at her home studio on Josephine Tobin Drive, including cut paper portraits, still life, note cards and luminarias. “I like to open the house once a year to art lovers,” she said. “I get a lot of commissions, too, from visitors who stop by. And it’s inspiring to get fresh ideas from a pair of fresh eyes to look at my work. They’ll say what they’d like to see me do. It’s a collaboration.”
Community artist Ernesto Olivo, who lives in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, plans to display screen prints of loteria cards from his exhibit, “Cultura,” that highlights LGBT, African-American and Latino pop culture. He’s also looking forward to meeting the hundreds of art enthusiasts, as he has during the past three years as a participating artist with the Fred studio tour.
“The tour is an art walk, but it’s also intimate because you allow people into your private space,” Olivo said. “It gives artists who live in this area an opportunity to reach people who normally would not come to these neighborhoods or who don’t get out to experience art other than at an art gallery.”
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 9th year, she envisions the art showcase 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.
The Deco District, she adds, has become a hot spot for many of the Alamo City’s artists. In fact, all artists featured 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 Lake.