Texan Theatre Designers Take Center Stage in New Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts Exhibition

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San Antonio, TX (March 7, 2022) – Now open at McNay Art Museum, The Great Stage of Texas celebrates 13 contemporary designers from the Lone Star State through a dynamic presentation of set, costume, lighting, and projection designs created for theatre productions around the world. The new exhibition is on view in the Tobin Exhibition and Brown Galleries through August 14, 2022.

The Great Stage of Texas spotlights homegrown artists in contemporary theatre design who are living and working in San Antonio, throughout the state of Texas, and beyond,” said R. Scott Blackshire, PhD, Curator, The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. “The vibrant collection of objects in the exhibition celebrates the innovative impact each of these artists continues to have in their field.”

Contemporary Artist Highlights

  • San Antonio-based designers and University of the Incarnate Word professors Margaret Mitchell and Christopher McCollum present scenic and costume designs in Ballet Idaho’s The Nutcracker.
  • Scenic designer and Trinity University Assistant Professor of Scenic Design Scott C. Neale conceptualized an abstract landscape for the St. Louis Shakespeare Company’s Antony & Cleopatra and re-purposed an existing high school for Learning Curve, a devised performance created by youth from Chicago’s Albany Park Theatre Project.
  • Sam and Steve Gilliam are San Antonio scenic designers spotlighted for their decades-long creative association with St. Louis’s Municipal “Muny” Theatre, America’s oldest and largest outdoor performance venue for musical theatre.
  • Houston-based scenic designer Michael Locher’s backdrops for Euripide’s play, Medea, are displayed digitally with video clips from the Alley Theatre’s Zoom production, as well as the artist’s designs for An Alamo Play, which taps into the rich history of San Antonio.
  • Artwork from Austin-based scenic painter Karen Maness, known for her large-scale renderings and skyscapes, drapes 40 feet across The Tobin Theatre Arts Gallery and introduces visitors to the art of “painting performance.” Maness is a lecturer with The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance, The School of Design and Creative Technologies, and the Scenic Art Supervisor for Texas Performing Arts.
  • Scenic and costume designer Michelle Ney presents artwork for a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as seen through the eyes of the character Puck. Ney is also the Head of Design & Technology at Texas State University.
  • Lighting designer and Texas State University professor Sarah Maines, and projection designer Stephanie Busing,add holiday magic and technicolor drama to A Christmas Carol, produced at Austin’s ZACH Theatre.
  • Before moving from Dallas to Chicago, set and costume designer Yvonne L. Miranda redesigned the costume for Texas’ beloved icon “Big Tex,” the animated giant who oversees the annual Texas State Fair. Miranda’s large-scale shirt prototype for Big Tex is on view in the exhibition.
  • Acclaimed designers Arnulfo Maldonado and Montana Levi Blanco have taken their creative effortsto New York City’s Broadway. Maldonado, a scenic designer born and raised in San Antonio, gives McNay visitors a sneak preview of his set design for A Strange Loop, opening on Broadway in April 2022. Blanco makes his two Broadway debuts this April, designing costumes for the musical A Strange Loop and the play The Skin of Our Teeth.

Additionally, artworks from The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts by Texan artists Jean and Bill Eckart, Robert Wilson, and John Rothgeb, are presented in conversation with artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection by Carlos Merida, Mary Lee Bendolph, Keith Haring, and Marion Koogler McNay.

The Great Stage of Texas was conceived by R. Scott Blackshire, PhD, Curator, The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts; and organized with Kim Neptune, The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Assistant Curator, The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. This exhibition and the Tobin Distinguished Lecture are programs of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

Admission to The Great Stage of Texas is free every Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., courtesy of H-E-B; and the first Sunday of each month, courtesy of the Dickson-Allen Foundation. Free admission for active military members is provided courtesy of USAA Foundation, Inc.; and to recipients of SNAP, WIC, and MAP through Museums for All, a cooperative which encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums. Admission during non-free hours is $20 for adults; $15 for students and seniors (65+); $10 for teens; and free for children 12 and under and McNay Members.

Images Available Here

About McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first modern art museum when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 25 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Willie Cole, Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Alejandro Martín, George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Tom Wesselmann, and more.

The McNay is open Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m.