Art in the Park

Experience the Vibrant Art Culture of San Antonio

 
Reproduction of the fresco paintings that decorated the Mission San Jose church.
Reproduction of the fresco paintings that once decorated the entire outer walls of the church at Mission San Jose.

Photo by Artists-in-Residence Jenny & James Tarpley of JT FineArt. NPS Photo.

Art has been an important part of San Antonio history for hundreds of years. Learn about art of the past and present in South Texas on your visit to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Here, you'll find endless opportunities to find your park through art.

Art and symbolism was extremely important at this site during the mission era. The Spanish used symbols of Spanish culture and Catholicism in their art and architecture as a tool to establish new cultural norms in the region. You will find Catholic symbolism in the ornate limestone carvings and frescoes at Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose. For the Spanish, art was a tool for colonization and religious education.

 
Artist-in-Residence James Tarpley photographs pollinators along the San Antonio River.
Artist-in-Residence James Tarpley photographs pollinators along the San Antonio River.

Photo by Artists-in-Residence Jenny & James Tarpley of JT FineArt. NPS Photo.

Artist-in-Residence Program

For over one hundred years, the majestic views and awe-inspiring heritage of National Park Service sites have influenced artists if all mediums and backgrounds. Today, the sights and sounds in national parks continue to inspire artists in more than 50 residency programs across the country. Today's artists document the resources of our national parks, and interpret their beauty in ways that connect with people from around the world. Each year, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park welcomes artists to an immersive national park experience. During this time, artists intimately interact with the site and its culture, including visitors, while creating artworks for the public to enjoy. This program is sponsored by the National Park Service and Mission Heritage Partners.

In the past, we have hosted Artists-in-Residence Jenny Tarpley and James Tarpley. The Tarpleys are photographers who capture the historic and natural sites in artistic and innovative ways, helping visitors from the local area and afar to connect with the national park.
Interested in learning more? Email us!

 
Print of an animal's eye in the granary door.
Some of Sabra's pieces are hiding in unlikely places, like the holes in the granary door. Find this piece in the Solder's Quarters at Mission San Jose.

NPS Photo.

Sabra Booth

2019 Artist-in-Residence at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Sabra Booth, the 2019 Artist-in-Residence at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is a well-known local printmaker, animator, and mixed media artist in San Antonio. Her work at San Antonio Missions combines prints, freestanding sculptures, and light boxes to explore the role of native plants in the history and culture of South Texas. 'Portals of a People' is a combination of prints and freestanding displays in the Granary and Solder's Quarters, in the northwest section of Mission San Jose. 'Portals of a People' prompts reflection on the local flora and prehistoric peoples whose descendants built the missions we enjoy today.

The Artist-in-Residence program at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is generously supported by Mission Heritage Partners, the official friends group of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

 
Sabra and her students hold up their prints after the public printmaking workshop in the Visitor Center.
Sabra and her students hold up their prints after the public printmaking workshop in the Visitor Center.
One key component of every Artist-in-Resident experience is the public program. Sabra Booth offered two free, public printmaking programs at Mission San Jose. The public was invited to learn printmaking techniques with Sabra Booth, and create their own print to take home. Visitors used native plant samples to make their print artwork. About 30 participants joined Sabra Booth for these public programs.
 
Woman painting Mission San Jose in watercolor while standing in front of her easel at the Mission San Jose church.
Woman paints Mission San Jose in watercolor.

NPS Photo.

Create at San Antonio Missions

We welcome artists of all skill levels to experience their national park through art. Take in the beautiful artistry of the missions as you paint, draw, photograph, and more. This special place has so much to offer. Share your artistic interpretation of the missions with us on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Each year, San Antonio Missions hosts a variety of art themed events. Here are a few of our artevents offered in the past:
  • Restored by Light
    • At this popular event, a representation of the historical church frescoes are projected onto a church facade at the park site. This light show beautifully showcases art of the past using technology of the present.
  • Mexican Art Show & Sale
    • Artists from Mexico bring their original Mata Ortiz and Oaxacan art pieces to the Visitor Center for this event.
  • Artist Meet-and-Greet with Michael Nye
    • At this event, artist Michael Nye presented the unveiling of his Four Voices photography and audio exhibit at Mission Concepcion. Exhibit explores the stories of people with close ties to Mission Concepcion.
  • Artist-in-Residence Workshop
    • Each Artist-in-Residence is required to lead at least one public workshop to teach an art form to the public in the park setting.
  • Luminaria Closing Performance
    • San Antonio Missions has been the host site for a Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival performance. In 2018, the performance included orchestral music from the past 300 years and light projections in the granary at Mission San Jose.
Check out our events calendar to learn about upcoming events!
 
Mission era black statue of saint at park
Art is everywhere you look at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

Photo by Artists-in-Residence Jenny & James Tarpley of JT FineArt. NPS Photo.

Historical Arts

Art is everywhere you look at San Antonio Missions! On your visit, be observant of the many art styles used in the architecture and elaborate decor at the missions. The missions are influenced heavily by Late Baroque, Moorish, Renaissance, and Romanesque architecture. Art styles present at the missions reflect the global cultures that influenced the missions of San Antonio.

During the mission era, indigenous inhabitants of the missions also labored in workshops to support the mission community. Pottery styles from the pre-mission era survived into mission-era production. Pottery in the missions region in the Southwest and Central America were influenced by indigenous, Spanish, and global cultures. This blending of cultures led to pottery styles like Mata Ortiz in Mexico. Each year, artists from Mexico bring their original Mata Ortiz and Oaxacan artwork to the Visitor Center for the Mexican Art Show & Sale. Alebrijes and Mata Ortiz pottery are available for sale in our Gift Shop.

Last updated: November 5, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Headquarters
2202 Roosevelt Avenue

San Antonio, TX 78210

Phone:

(210) 932-1001

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