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Arts & Culture

Alamo Basement Wants To Give Artistic Power Back To The People

A new group with a curious name is looking to shake things up a bit on San Antonio’s Art Scene. That curious name is Alamo Basement, and if that phrase rings a bell, it’s not by accident. Think of that San Antonio scene in Pee-wee Herman’s first movie “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” The late, great Jan Hooks exclaimed to a befuddled Pee-wee, “There’s no basement at the Alamo!”  (hit "Listen" above to hear that scene)

“Yeah, y’ know, it’s kind of a clever name. I’ve always been a fan of ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’.”

John Medina created the Arts group Alamo Basement. Not being a San Antonio native, he had a pretty Pee-Wee-esque view of the Alamo City.

“For me, San Antonio WAS the Alamo. San Antonio WAS Fiesta Texas and all these touristy things,” he says. “You know, I’ve been living here for about 10 years now and San Antonio is something completely different.”

And now, through Alamo Basement, Medina says he’s looking to help the city make its artistic mark, by taking art out of museums and to the people.

“We want to take it to where people are congregating, whether it’s a Food Truck Park, whether it’s at a live music event,” he explains. “And then, as part of our mission as well, we want to take it to schools, which don’t necessarily have the funds to provide their own arts programming.”

Medina thinks we all have artistic muscle — we just need to exercise them more. And he believes Alamo Basement has a role to play in that. “We could teach real art-making skills, but in a relaxed sort of environment,” he says.

To take art to the people, and get them to work those artistic muscles, Alamo Basement plans to buy a food truck, but not make food in it.

“It’ll be a food truck that we’ve converted into an art studio, which we then can take all over the city. We want to take art out of the galleries and the institutionalized museums, and bring it to where art was meant to be, which is to make it a part of peoples’ everyday lives.”

We’ve more on Alamo Basement here.