Luminaria began as a city-led nonprofit initiative in 2008 by then-Mayor Phil Hardberger and the Department of Arts & Culture to highlight the arts at a nighttime festival. Drawing inspiration from Paris’ Nuit Blanche and Madrid’s Noche en Blanco, all of the arts organizations and artists of San Antonio were invited to create a communal celebration. The Festival gains popularity, drawing people into downtown with multimedia works, creative performances, and fanciful lighting.
2021 Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival
In 2021, LUMINARIA held the iconic LUMINARIA Contemporary Arts Festival, on Saturday, November 13th from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. This celebration—the most prominent arts festival in South Texas—featured more than 200 Texas artists across all disciplines, including fine art, theater, film, poetry, large-scale art installations, digital art, and live music. There were solo acts, collectives, and large groups of up to 30 participants.
The festival offered live music and performances by several artists representing different musical genres such as Hip Hop, Alternative Rock, Tejano/Conjunto, and Latin Fusion. The scope of artist presentations included fashion (Casa de Ojos), installation (Breathe Collective), digital art (Yuliya Lanina), large art installation (Of the Serpent), and fine art (tribute to the late Adán Hernandez). Veteran actor, Jesse Borrego, served as the festival’s 2021 honorary curatorial committee chair helping to select and inspire the festival lineup.