The Story Behind SAEAS
In the summer of 1983, Johnnye Yates and John Coleman discussed the possibility of forming an art organization. This discussion led to famed collectors Aaronetta and Dr. Joseph Pierce, Dr. Gary Houston, F.L. “Doc” Spellman, Johnnye Yates and John Coleman incorporating the Southwest Ethnic Arts Society. The primary goal of the society was to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African-American ancestry. In the early 1990s, the society began allowing high school students to display their art at the Society’s annual exhibits. The Society held its first Art Banquet and Awards Presentation on October 15, 1994. In February 2001, SAEAS was recognized at the San Antonio Museum of Art when former Mayor Lila Cockrell and Aaronetta Pierce exhibited art from their private collections. In the fall of that same year, members began teaching art after school to elementary school students in the San Antonio Independent School system, in conjunction with the Carver Cultural Center’s 21st Century Program.
In 2004, SAEAS began awarding scholarships to area youth who are between ages 10 to 17 and who seek one-on-one training to enhance their artistic skills. Once awarded the scholarships are guaranteed renewable until each recipient graduates from high school, and include annual exhibition in a SAEAS’s funded Student Art Exhibition.
Today, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization is a multicultural artist collective that hosts joint exhibitions, u ... view more »