David S. Rubin is an independent curator, writer, and artist. He has been active in contemporary art for 40 years and has held curatorial posts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; MOCA Cleveland; Phoenix Art Museum; and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

On the eve of our upcoming exhibit that features the work of San Antonio based contemporary artist Louis Vega Treviño, David kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions.

What is the role of visual arts in building a world-class, cosmopolitan city?

In addition to attracting tourists, visual art, music, and theater are all essential for the growth of any city, because the arts can unite people from all different backgrounds.  The arts appeal first to our senses, so as we bond together through images, sounds, or performances, our shared humanity is felt.  Visual art, in particular, is a great vehicle for raising our consciousness on topics that might be difficult but that we all care about, and thus it becomes easier to talk about social issues as we see them represented in a painting.

In the context of local and emerging artists, what do you make of the work of Louis Vega?

I have watched Louis Vega Treviño develop as an abstract artist for about 9 years.  I have always been impressed by the precision with which he paints his abstract imagery, and his napkin drawings are incredibly imaginative.  I’m also excited to see that he has been expanding his visual vocabulary over the past few years.

How do you see Musical Bridges’ double duty as both a performing and visual arts organization benefiting the art community?

There are many successful interdisciplinary arts organizations throughout the country, and it’s great to see the emergence of Musical Bridges as part of this network.  Venues that produce events in more than one area of the arts have a great opportunity for creative programming, such as when a single topic is explored in art and music simultaneously, or in instances where one medium might complement the other in some unexpected way.  Playing a dual role is also advantageous in terms of outreach, since you can be building lasting relationships with more than one segment of the arts community at large.

During PechaKucha you stated: “There are always terrific artists in your own backyard” and that “artists are the lifeblood of the city.” What can art organizations and art lovers in San Antonio do to support local Artists and ensure their vitality in maintaining a vibrant, inspired community?

Show up at events, bring your friends, become members and donate money to the organizations that you love the most.  In short, be an active participant rather than a passive observer.  San Antonio is one of the few cities in the U.S. that has a really strong creative class…so take advantage of that!

‘Northern Lights’ by Louis Vega Treviño