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The Berlin Residency Program

Blue Star Selects Artists for 2014-2015 Berlin Residency Program

As the exclusive U.S. partner of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Blue Star Contemporary annually selects four artists residing in Bexar County to take part in three-month residencies in Berlin, Germany. While in residence, the artists are given a studio and living space, as well as access to workshops, exhibition opportunities, and studio visits with international curators. Upon completion of the residency, Blue Star Contemporary mounts an annual exhibition each March of new work inspired by the artists’ residency experiences. Blue Star Contemporary is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 selected artists are Justin Boyd, Chris Sauter, Adriana Corral, and Jessica Halonen.

“A residency experience is potentially transformative for an artist—broadening horizons and art practice. Blue Star Contemporary is pleased to be able to make such an important opportunity available to four of our city’s top talents each year. It is a worthy investment in our creative community—showcasing our artists on the world stage and reaping the rewards when they return, when we see the impact on their artwork,” said Blue Star Executive Director Mary Heathcott.

Künstlerhaus Bethanien is a non-profit organization that has earned a worldwide reputation for its international residency studio program, giving 25 artists from around the world residencies at their fully appointed facility in the heart of Berlin’s vibrant art scene. It aims to establish a lively dialogue between artists from various backgrounds and disciplines and the public at large.

This is the second year that Blue Star Contemporary has offered the residency opportunity to local artists. Artists were chosen by jury review of their applications. Blue Star Contemporary plans an exhibition featuring the inaugural group of resident artists, Richard Armendariz, Cathy Cunningham-Little, Karen Mahaffy, and Vincent Valdez, in March 2015 for Contemporary Art Month. “…How wonderful for all of us involved in making this residency possible that our hopes were more than fulfilled. All four artists came back raving about their experiences, how they are looking differently at creating art. For them there is a definite before and after Berlin. Their exhibition at Blue Star will allow a glimpse into this process,” said Dr. Angelika Jansen, curator of the 2015 residency exhibition. A San Antonio resident who divides her time between Berlin and Texas, Jansen was instrumental in forming Blue Star’s partnership with the Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

“This residency has been by far, one of the most important residencies that I have had in my career… I am convinced that this extremely important experience is now one of San Antonio’s most important opportunities for its local artists,” said January 2014 resident artist Vincent Valdez.

The 2014-15 Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Residency Program is made possible in part by the support of City of San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development, 1010 South Flores Lofts and 1111 Austin Highway Lofts, Ann and Bill FitzGibbons, Ruth Chang and Russell Nadeau, and Ruiz-Healy Art.


Supporters of the 2013 - 2014 cycle of the program included:

City of San Antonio Office for Cultural and Creative Development, the University of Texas San Antonio, Palo Alto College and 1010 South Flores Lofts and 1111 Austin Highway Lofts

Artist Testimonies

“This residency has been by far, one of the most important residencies/trips that I have had in my career. Berlin has been an instant influence in terms of evaluating the role that my work plays in a new and foreign environment. This experience has in a very short time, pushed me to approach new concepts which I have been seeking for sometime now. It has also prepared me to finally pursue new formats of creating work when I return home. I am eager to begin several sculptures and have already made plans to begin this work when I return.

“Most of all, the access to Berlin Museums has been extraordinarily important. I have spent every weekend roaming the museums for entire days at a time until closing. Viewing thousands of various works has reignited a fuse in me and i find that it fuels me during the week as I work meticulously on my own images.

“And finally, this Berlin residency has provided me with the ultimate gift, which is to be able to focus without distraction in the studio. This residency provides the artist with the necessary facilities, the time, and with the inspiration and learning experience of being in an amazingly creative and extremely active environment. I am convinced that this extremely important experience is now one of San Antonio's most important opportunities for its local artists. Over the course of my career, I had the privilege of attending various prestigious art residencies such The Skowhegan School of Painting, The Vermont Studio Center, etc. The Bethanian Residency has provided me so much more in terms of learning experience. On many levels, this opportunity and experience have altered my perceptions and possibly my future. San Antonio, The SA Art Community and Bluestar MUST keep this residency going for future artists.”

Vincent Valdez, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum resident at Kunstlerhaus Bethanian, January 15 – April 8, 2014 

“As for the residency program itself, I have nothing but glowing words and great thanks for the opportunity to experience this episode of creative flow! This was a window of opportunity to expand beyond my normal parameters of work. I feel that learning about the history and culture of Berlin was an immeasurable gift and just as important as working within the studio. My creative impulse was stimulated by the artwork, galleries, and variety of artists that I met and I feel that my artwork has become liberated. New horizons have appeared.

“The residency introduced me to a curator that I was invited to meet again in London, gave me the courage to speak to another curator that I met in London, and encouraged a visit with a writer and curator that had good feedback to work with. The chance to meet other artists within and outside of the residency community was a profound experience, and a connection to new friendships.

“It is difficult to express my gratitude for this emancipating time. I sincerely hope that the program can continue. Without this residence I am doubtful that I could've come close to seeing how competent, hardworking, and opportunity driven artists and galleries are in other parts of the world.”

Cathy Cunningham-Little, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum resident at Kunstlerhaus Bethanian, October 15, 2013 – January 8, 2014

“My work will forever be changed. The parks and architecture facades are covered with Greek and Roman mythology. It is ubiquitous in Berlin. I was amazed how Berliners don't even see it anymore. Like so many beautiful and historical images washing over them like so much rain. Myth and mythology, oral tradition and how that shapes our culture and identity is what some of my work is about. Another aspect was the repurposing of war machines and evidence of conflict in Berlin. Tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and evidence of war torn Berlin are everywhere—from the bullet holes in the monuments to the Soviet architecture.

“In short, this was an amazing trip—a life-changing experience because of my exposure to the mix of cultures, art and architecture in a very dynamic city. I had the time to experiment and produce a small body of work.”

Ricky Armendariz, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum resident at Kunstlerhaus Bethanian, July 15, 2013 – October 8, 2013


Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum
116 Blue Star, San Antonio, TX 78204
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Blue Star Contemporary gratefully acknowledges major support from the City of San Antonio Department for Culture & Creative Development; The Lifshutz Family; Ann Griffith Ash; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Charles C. Butt; Capital Group; Penelope Speier and Sonny Collins; H-E-B; Ricos Products Co., Inc.; Valero Energy Corporation; and Weston Urban. Additional essential support is provided by 1010 South Flores Lofts and 1111 Austin Highway Lofts; Argo Group; Bury, Inc.; Casa Rio & Schilo's; C.H. Guenther & Son, Inc.; Pat and Geof Edwards; Frost Bank; King William Association; Muñoz and Company; The NRP Group, LLC; Rackspace; Silver Eagle Distributors; Strasburger & Price, LLP; Texas Commission on the Arts; and the Community Partners, Members, Individual Donors, and Board of Directors of Blue Star Contemporary.

© Contemporary Art For San Antonio 2015