Provided by Rigoberto Luna
The cover art this week is a Painting of Madame Candalaria by Cassie Gnehm. The painting is part special outdoor exhibit featuring the works of 11 San Antonio artists curated by Rigoberto Luna. “Alive in Memory & Spirit” is a visual interpretation of some of the critical contributors to San Antonio, the Missions and the surrounding area. Each of the large-scale reproductions of original artworks commissioned by the World Heritage Office is a traditional or non-traditional portrait of these departed individuals whose memories are celebrated and honored. Artists for this exhibit include: Fernando Andrade, Richard Arredondo, David Blancas, Adriana M. Garcia, Cassie Gnehm, Omar Gonzalez, Raul Rene Gonzalez, Christopher Montoya, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eva Marengo Sanchez, and Jesus Treviño.
Cassie Gnehm is an artist and educator whose work focuses on the representation of women in historical paintings and pop culture. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbus College of Art and Design and her Master of Fine Arts from West Virginia University. Gnehm was awarded residences at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts as well as the Vermont Studio Center.
Gnehm’s work examines the representation of the female body throughout art history and contemporary culture. By repainting and collaging over these historical figures Gnehm takes back control of the female form and draws comparisons between bodies past and present.
The subject on the cover, Madam Candelaria, became a household name for her many accomplishments. An excellent cook, socialite, philanthropist, and caregiver, she raised twenty-two orphan children. Candelaria often told numerous stories of nursing an ailing Jim Bowie during the siege on the Alamo. We may never know for sure about her presence at the battle. However, she was granted a pension and honored with a full military funeral.
Dia de Muertos is a time to celebrate the lives of our relatives, ancestors, and members of the community. The indigenous peoples of Mexico did not grieve the dead. They celebrated their spirit and honored their memory. The outdoor exhibit Alive in Memory and Spirit is a visual interpretation of some of the critical contributors to San Antonio, the Missions, and the surrounding area. We celebrate the significant impact on our shared history of these individuals and their families.
“Learning about these histories was equally fulfilling as working with each of the artists. Each artwork is as unique and rich as the subjects they portray,” Luna said. “The opportunity to work directly with descendant families made it all the more special because these stories are not only essential to the mission communities, but also to the fabric of San Antonio’s history.”
The curator would like to offer special thanks to: Susan Snow, Archeologist, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
James Oliver, Landscape Architect, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Mike Maspero, Arthur Maspero and the Maspero Family
Peter Rodriguez and the Sandoval/Flores Family
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Archives
Donna Morales Guerra, CA, Director of Archives at Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Archives
the University of the Incarnate Word.
Mary L. Jinks, Director of Technical Services at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Brenda Pacheco, Ruben Richard Bravo and Patricia Ann Ramirez, Descendants of Alvino Chapa Pacheco
Hope Trevino and Johnny Hernandez, Children of Alvino Hernandez
Ramon Juan Vasquez, Executive Director, American Indians In Texas At The Spanish Colonial Missions
Rebecca Simmons, Executive Director, El Camino
de San Antonio Missions
Claudia R. Guerra, Cultural Historian, City of San Antonio, Office of Historical Preservation
Terry A. Ybanez, President of Mission San Jose Neighborhood Association
Benjamin Wolinsky, Intern, National Park Service
The outdoor exhibit will remain on display at Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave., beginning November 1 through the end of December. Guests can view the exhibit from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and are encouraged to practice social distancing and wear face coverings when visiting. More information on the exhibit is available at
More information on the artist is available at
(Photo of the artist courtesy of The Episcopal School of Texas)