San Antonio's Contemporary Arts Festival - Saturday, November 10, 2018


Over 3,000 Artists creating

Over $500,000 in artist fees given

Over 1 million people attending

Over 1,200 visual arts installations

Over 900 performances


Luminaria was proposed in 2008 by then-mayor Phil Hardberger, a passionate supporter of the arts who was inspired by two night-time multi-genre festivals; Nuit Blanche in Paris, and Madrid’s Noche Blanca. Mayor Hardberger and his team of volunteer organizers recognized that the creative community of San Antonio deserves a night arts festival. And in a city renowned for annual public celebrations, Luminaria would hold a unique role; to spotlight the arts as an important part of city life, while illuminating our historic downtown as a reimagined creative space. It’s a role that Luminaria has fulfilled every year.

Since March 2008, San Antonio artists have created new theatrical and dance performances, film screenings, light projections, creative demonstrations, live music ranging from garage bands to orchestras, and other challenging new site-specific experiences. And each year, Luminaria has grown. The footprint has changed and expanded to embrace an ever-larger audience, local artists invited national and international collaborators, and the arts community came to see Luminaria as a chance to experiment, collaborate, and innovate on a large scale.

For its first three years, Luminaria lit up the historic downtown surrounding the Alamo, with special emphasis on spaces in transition. 2008 took place in Alamo Plaza, along Peacock Alley, and within then-empty storefronts on Navarro Street. In 2009, New Media students from UTSA staged a pop-up exhibition space in the soon-to-be-renovated Convention Center, while visual artists occupied the empty shop windows of the old Joske’s department store. Eventually festivities even pushed past its original Alamo-adjacent boundaries, up Alamo Street to include performing arts at Magik Theatre and in La Villita.

Luminaria illuminated Hemisfair Park from 2011 through 2013. The arts festival invigorated the park’s under-used gazebos with techno bands and its storage sheds with video art, enlivened its abandoned structures with temporary exhibitions and brightened dark walkways with light sculptures. The audience grew, and participating artists came from as far away as Korea. Luminaria’s years at Hemisfair brought the arts to the old fairground premises, before the massive, ongoing re-development plans were underway.

In 2014  through 2016, Luminaria returned to its roots on city streets. The River North neighborhood footprint included the Main Library, the Southwest School of Art, the Riverwalk and the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in 2014. True to form, Luminaria artists shone in unnoticed downtown surroundings. They created a disco in a parking lot, a free pinball parlor in a warehouse, original murals on bare walls, and transformed an exterior wall of the Main Library and river-level street overpass bridges into pop-up video projection screens. The festival also expanded from one March evening to two nights in the Fall, with original programming for each night.  The 2015 Luminaria partnered with the River North neighborhood's San Antonio Museum of Art and businesses along the city street.  A Hurricane dampened the original weekend, so Take Two festivals were orchestrated in a Vacant Lot, the Tobin Center for the Arts and the San Antonio Museum of Art and captured 23-28% new audiences for our artistic venues.   Community integration took presidence in 2016, with a downtown east festival that transformed the historic Hays Street Bridge, the Dignowity Park, and the Carver Community Cultural Center.  Luminaria received an award from Centro San Antonio as Best Downtown Event. 

Luminaria has become a creative incubator for cutting-edge new work, and highlights San Antonio as a city of the arts. A changing roster of directors, curators, producers, and advisory boards built a brilliant history. Starting in 2015, for the first time in its history, Luminaria is led by a full-time, year-round, Executive Director, Kathy Armstrong, who guides an enormous team of artists, workers, volunteers, and towards this year’s Luminaria, to take place November 9 - 11, 2018.   Luminaria has plans to build our contemporary arts night into the future, with expanded opportunities for San Antonio’s artists, audiences, neighborhoods, voices, and our increasingly important creative economy.

Luminaria is an independent non-profit organization.   The fall festival will be November 10, 2018 in Hemisfair and embraces all the arts.



Marise McDermott, Witte Museum
Henry Muñoz, Kell-Muñoz Architects
Janet Holliday, The CE Group
2009: Artistic Directors
Marise McDermott, Witte Museum
Matthew Drutt, Artpace
2010:Artistic Directors
Paula Owen, Southwest School of Art
George Cisneros, Urban-15 Group
2011: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Susanne Cooper
2012: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Chris Sauter
Melissa Marlowe, Northwest Vista College
2013: Artistic Directors
Richard Rosen, The Magik Theatre
Melissa Marlowe, Northwest Vista College
Kathy Armstrong, Southwest School of Art
2014: Artistic Directors
Noah Khoshbin
Ethel Shipton

2015: Artisitic Committee
Marisela Barrera
Paige Berry
Riley Robinson
Adam Rocha
Chris Smart
Anna Stothart

2016: Artistic Committee
David Alcantar
Angela Covo
Danielle King
Dr.Joey Lopez
Jeanette Muñiz
Octavio Quintanilla

2017: Artistic Committee
Jenny Browne
Garrett T. Capps
Joe De La Cruz
Cassandra Parker-Nowicki
Troy Peters
Joel Celelistino Settles
Maritza "Blue" Vazquez

Meet the 2018 Team


PO Box 120188, San Antonio, Texas 78212 (210) 721-1670