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2023 Fiesta Poster invites one and all to the party

Fiesta Poster.jpg
Kathleen Whittle
2023 Fiesta poster by Kathleen Whittle

With the recent cold spells we’ve had, it’s hard to believe that in fewer than three months, the city will be alive with Fiesta.

Part of that process is to solicit designs from local artists to create a marketing poster. The Fiesta Commission chooses five artists to create speculative posters, and one of those five is chosen the winner.

This year’s selection is an artist who has lived in San Antonio only a couple of years. Kathleen Whittle won this year’s poster design and said her first introduction to Fiesta a couple of years ago was incredible.

“We were just so blown away by all of it. By how warm and welcoming San Antonio was, by how involved the entire city seemed to be in this event,” Whittle said. “And it just felt like the city threw open its doors and said, come on into the party.”

The poster features a papel picado ‘Viva Fiesta’ hanging above a golden, backlit door that’s slightly open. She says that door is open for a good reason.

“It is based on a door that's in the courtyard of the McNay Museum. And what it represents for me and in the painting is ‘the door is open.’ It’s ajar,” she said. “And it's just that feeling of come on into the party. Everybody is welcome here, which is how San Antonio has made us feel.”

That design features a doorway with flags on either side and surrounded by tiles.

“And on each of the tiles that go around the doorway, I've got the Keystone established 1891, the first year that they held Fiesta. And then the tiles start with King Antonio and El Rey Feo and the Alamo and the clock tower here at Fort Sam Houston,” she said.

Ben Tijerina
Kathleen Whittle and her poster

The poster also features some of the state’s most identifiable attributes.

“It’s got the Texas flags that are flanking either side of the doorway and on each of the tiles that go around the doorway. I've got the Keystone established 1891, the first year they held Fiesta. And then I got on the tiles and start with King Antonio and El Rey Feo and the Alamo and the clock tower here at Fort Sam Houston.”

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

Besides the tiles, the garden on either side of the doorway features Texas at its prettiest.

“It has bluebonnets of course. And yellow roses and cactus and yucca and Crape Myrtle trees,” she said. “And I just tried to put all the symbols into the painting that make me think about Texas.”

Whittle first moved to San Antonio after her husband was stationed here.

“My husband is in the Army, and so we came here so that he could be the deputy commanding general for fifth Army," Whittle said. “He's actually going to retire here in May, and we're going to make San Antonio our permanent home, which we're very excited about. I'm going to open my art gallery in Southtown in San Antonio.”

Apparently, the city has made a huge impression on the Whittle family.

Fiesta is celebrated starting April 20th and finishing on April 30th.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii