Linda Pace (1945–2007)
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Photos Courtesy Artpace San Antonio; Top photo Copyright 2002 James McGoon.
with Linda on the project, as well as on her own penthouse residence in the building, designed to display her evolving art cols a n a n t o n i o On July 2, San lection to best effect. Antonio lost Linda Pace, the city’s greatest The vacant site across the street became patron of contemporary art and architecCHRISpark—a 1.6-acre park, open to the ture, after a six-month battle with cancer. public, but maintained by its own founThe daughter of Pace Foods founder dation, endowed by Pace. Collaborating David Pace and Margaret Pace Willson, a with Artpace artist and MacArthur grant founder of the Southwest School of Art and recipient Terasita Fenandez and landscape Craft, she studied art at Trinity University. architects Rosa Finsley and Jon Ahrens, Pace later became an accomplished artist she created a refreshing urban green and prodigious art collector. space filled with site-specific artwork, “Through my own artwork and involvefountains, and lush vegetation. ment with the San Antonio Art Institute, T he creat ion of C AMPst reet a nd I came to realize that art-making is lifeCHRISpark quickly became a catalyst for changing work,” she once said, “I think it the revival of that once-forgotten section is deep and real, and I made a commitment of downtown San Antonio. More than 10 to support artists and their work.” To that redevelopment projects have been comend, in 1995, Linda created Artpace, a pleted or are underway in the immediate foundation that brings challenging convicinity of CAMPstreet and urban resitemporary visual artists from all over the dential development is now booming, a world to live and create in San Antonio. In trend that is serving to balance out the its short 12-year history, the uncomprotourist-oriented character of San Antomising quality of the artists selected for nio’s downtown. the program has made San Antonio a desA s a f i ne a r t ist, Pace g rew more tination in the world of contemporary art. assured with each passing year. She Four of Artpace’s alumni have won MacArspoke often and wrote about how her work thur Foundation “genius grants” and many was informed by the study of her own more have been featured in the Whitney dreams. She exhibited her “Red Project” Museum’s Biennial exhibition—including to acclaim at the San Antonio Museum of an amazing 13 selected in 2004. Art in 2001. More recently, her “Mirror, To house Artpace, she selected a vacant Mirror” – a stunning, occupiable igloo, 1920s-era auto showroom in downtown mirrored both inside and out – was San Antonio. The old building was skillselected for the 2007 Texas Biennial fully transformed by Lake/Flato architects Exhibition. Just two months before her into a vibrant, multi-use, multi-level death, a large show of drawings – many complex of galleries, public spaces, and dealing frankly or whimsically with her artist studios and residences. Open to the illness – drew raves. public on a daily basis, these spaces come Linda Pace deservedly received scores alive several evenings each month as San of honors for her philanthropy, achieveAntonians and visitors pack the building Linda Pace in 2001 with her artwork Red Project. Pace commisments, and influence. Last year, she was to attend openings, artist talks and potluck sioned Lake/Flato to renovate a vacant 1920s-era auto showroom for made an Honorary Member of the Texas dinners. San Antonio has embraced ArtArtpace, shown here in 1999, at 445 North Main Avenue. Societ y of A rchitects, an award that pace’s mission—support for the visual arts acknowledged her love of architecture 1997, Pace found the building that would allow has become a critical and growing part of and design. In her recommendation letter to her to extend her vision of urban San Antonio. San Antonio’s sense of self in recent years. TSA, San Antonio writer Jan Jarboe Russell The Tobin Building, constructed as a candy Pace also commissioned Lake/Flato in 1992 perfectly captured the nature and the effect of factory in the 1920s, had housed the renowned to design her home on Elm Court in Terrell Linda’s influence on her beloved San Antonio: Tobin Aerial Surveys Company for 60 years. It Hills. This striking complex of stone pavil“Sometimes the consciousness of a single indisat gutted at the southern edge of downtown. By ions connected by glazed and open courtyards vidual can reflect changed realities in ways that rehabilitating the building, she demonstrated reflects her love of natural light and materials redefine a city’s sense of itself.” the possibilities of downtown living in San as well as her passion for the possibilities of the Antonio. The project became CAMPstreet, Texas landscape. J i m P o t e e t , AIA a 20-unit loft development. My firm, Poteet In 2000, searching for a site to create an Architects, was fortunate enough to collaborate urban park to honor her son, Chris, who died in Jim Poteet, AIA, practices architecture in San Antonio.
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