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Arts & Culture

San Antonio's Artpace Selects New Director

Chris Castillo

Updated 5:50 p.m.  

One of the city's major art institutions has appointed a new director.

Riley Robinson has been named to the top position, but he’s hardly new to Artpace — his time there dates back nearly a quarter century.



"In 1994, I started with Linda Pace, and I helped her build her dream here," he said.

Pace, who died in 2007,  had turned earnings from her stake in Pace Picante Sauce into her true passion: Artpace.

“Artpace is an international residency in the heart of San Antonio that supports nine artists a year,” Robinson said. “Three international, three national artists and three from inside Texas. They live here for two months, and in that two months they make a new artwork or installation."

Pace's dream was to strip away barriers that promising young artists face, and give them the opportunity to create," and that's what I would like to think I'm doing now," Robinson said.

Robinson also has an art background, having created major public installations. He doesn't plan on leaving that behind with the new job.

"I've got a piece that I'm going to put on the River Walk for Luminaria, so I am doing my own art," he said.

Robinson ascends to the top job at a critical time in the future of the non-profit contemporary art gallery, which was built from a Hudson automobile dealership back to the 1920s. The Linda Pace Foundation makes up the largest portion of their $1.7 million annual budget, but not for much longer.

"Their generous support goes away in August of 2024,” Robinson said. “So that's the date we're working toward creating this endowment and creating this fund to keep Artpace sustained for the next 25 years."

Monies from the city, memberships, board members and two annual fundraisers make up the rest of the budget. Robinson declined to cite an endowment target amount, but said, "it's time for us to fly on our own."

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org

CORRECTION: Riley Robinson's title was incorrect. He is the new director of Artpace.