Ruby City & Holiday Fun

Most San Antonians remember Linda Pace as the founder of Artpace, but her remarkable legacy goes much further. She wanted to create a new art oasis downtown on Camp Street, which started with the development of CHRISpark, a small, beautifully laid-out green space that opened to the public in 2005.

Pace also redeveloped a commercial building across the street into condominiums, where she lived for a while before her death in 2007. Since then, her vision has been carried out by the Linda Pace Foundation (LPF), which recently announced a major new undertaking: a gallery and sculpture garden complex on the shore of San Pedro Creek — just 100 steps down the street from CHRISpark — to permanently house the eclectic Linda Pace art collection.


Called Ruby City, the new edifice has been designed by British architect David Adjaye, whom Pace personally selected and to whom she showed her sketch of a red building she had seen in a dream. Though Adjaye’s design doesn’t look anything like that castle-like sketch, the sleek, contemporary structure he conceived manages to embody the essence of the dream. LPF trustee Kathryn Kanjo explained that the architect was inspired by Pace’s idea of a jewel-like place full of color where people could gather and interact with contemporary art.

Ruby City does, indeed, promise to be a jewel. Though LPF doesn’t like to call it a museum, it will essentially function as one, though entirely privately funded and operated. In addition to showing works from the foundation’s 800-piece-strong collection, it will also organize other contemporary exhibits. Slated to start in a few months, the construction will be completed in 2018, just in time for the 300th anniversary of our city. What a gift to downtown, San Antonio as a whole and Texas! We should all be grateful for people like Linda Pace.

To get a sense of the art collected by Pace, see the current show, Immersed, at Space, an existing gallery adjacent to the park. Then spend a little time in shady CHRISpark and imagine the future art hub, stretching from South Flores to the creek.

For a very different visual arts experience, wander over to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center to admire and buy unique handmade pieces during the three-day shopping event Hecho a Mano, starting Dec. 4. Each year a panel of jurors selects the participating artists.

On the performing arts front, there’s a lot going on at holiday time. I want to draw your attention to two productions that are not likely to return to San Antonio anytime soon: Pinocchio by Teatro del Drago from Italy, and the TEN Tenors from Australia. The former is a unique version of the iconic classic told entirely using puppets, shadow theater, music and live actors, with no spoken dialogue. It has toured the world and won awards and is being brought to town by AtticRep, which has established a collaborative relationship with the Ravenna-based theater founded in 1822. (Nov. 11-14 and Nov. 18-22,

As for the acclaimed Aussie classical-crossover group, it promises to dazzle American audiences with a heavy dose of holiday spirit with its new show, Home for the Holidays. Head north to Boerne to see them on Dec. 17. (     

Happy holidays!

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