VIDA is excited to highlight San Antonio-area artists through a creative street-naming initiative that spotlights local dancers, painters, chefs, musicians, writers and more. VIDA will incorporate the names of local artists into permanent street name signage to ensure lasting recognition of each artist’s positive impact on the community.
Read on to learn more about the third round of artists selected for the next residential phase of the VIDA community, now under construction.
San Antonio native Antonio Padron is a producer and performance artist also known as Akasha Luxe. Raised on a ranch near Pleasanton, Padron didn’t begin to take dance seriously until 2009. Two key things left impressions on the South Side High School grad that year: seeing the troupe Vogue Evolution compete on the MTV series America’s Best Dance Crew and meeting friend and mentor Karma Styles at the San Antonio dance studio Street Beatz. Over the years, Padron worked together with Styles on choreography and auditioned for reality competition shows including the HBO Max series Legendary. Padron eventually became a founding member of House of Kenzo, a still-active troupe that fuses elements of vogue, avant-garde fashion and performance art.
Milas Williams, a former gang member, was 19 when he was arrested for aggravated robbery. He served 15 of a 25-year sentence in a Texas penitentiary. Five years into his sentence, a culinary class became his salvation. Getting mentored by prominent chefs such as Chef Johnny Hernandez and Chef Brian West, Williams learned from the best and took their lessons to heart. Chef Milas Williams started the non-profit “World Lolei Inc.” along with his brother. It stands for “loyalty over liberty equals integrity.” His outreach includes helping young chefs fulfill their culinary passions and financially assisting families in need of resources.
For the past 24 years, Malou Flato has been commissioned to produce numerous paintings and sculptures throughout Texas and in various locations throughout the United States. Six of her paintings were completed and made for San Antonio with the first being completed here in 1980. Flato also crafts sculptures and to ensure her work seems to come alive due to her specifically leaving fingerprints making it known they were handcrafted. A signature trait of her paintings is the use of Japanese paper. Using the paper’s translucent properties, she paints both sides of the canvas to help further the painting’s direction. Flato says she often makes decisions on her work from a distance, backing away and going right back in to balance the colors.
Naomi Shihab Nye is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has appeared widely. She was born on March 12, 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and Nye spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She earned her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University.
Nye has authored numerous books of poems, most recently Cast Away: Poems for Our Time (2020). Her other books of poetry include The Tiny Journalist (2019); Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners (2018); Transfer (2011); You and Yours (2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award; and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East.
Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Michael, and their son, Madison.
San Antonio-based mixed media artist Mira Hnatyshyn explores patterns in socio-cultural development that define the female condition in contemporary and historical times. Referencing photos of women in everyday scenes, her installations are like modern simulacra, seeking to present an amplified version of realism. In the constructions of painted canvases and sculptural appendages, she aims to capture an isolated moment to reflect on its significance and record that moment into Herstory. Ultimately, she hopes to reveal a shared humanity between cultures and continue the questioning of the constraints of gender roles inherent through identity.