Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Institute of Texan Cultures exhibit looks at Texas through photo editor’s eye

sand dunes
neon Texas flag

Top photo: Monahans sand dunes
Bottom photo: Neon Texas flag at Institute of Texan Cultures

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(Sept. 28, 2011) -- One of the most memorable images of the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio is its 11-foot-tall neon Texas flag.Paired with the silhouette of a cowboy, it's a Texas icon recognized across the state.It's an image J. Griffis Smith captured in 1986 and one of the signature pieces of "Griff Smith's Texas: A Retrospective Through the Lens and Images from Texas Highways," a photographic exhibit running Oct. 1-March 25 at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

Smith has worked for Texas Highways, the official travel magazine of Texas, for more than 25 years and has been the photo editor since 2009. According to a March 2011 article in the magazine, his work has sent him "from Alpine to Zephyr." During his career, he has covered a wide spectrum of subjects from majestic landscapes to unique people who have contributed to the tapestry of Texas culture.

"With the use of creative lighting and composition, I strive to make the obvious appear almost bigger than life," said Smith. "I want to get the viewer to feel like they could actually put their hand into the scene and touch whatever subject I am photographing."

Among the 58 images in the exhibit are landscapes such as the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, the lighthouse at Port Isabel and the Monahans sand dunes.The many portraits in the exhibit include an Indian woman at the Tigua reservation near El Paso, father and son accordion players in Buda and a trick roper at the Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera.

"Griff Smith's Texas" describes the artist's work on-location and what was involved in capturing some of the images. A video component of the exhibit offers the visitor insights into the creative process at Texas Highways, which determines the subjects and stories Smith shoots or selects images to illustrate.

"The Institute of Texan Cultures tells the stories of Texas and Texans, and 'Griff Smith's Texas' accomplishes this in spectacular fashion,"said Bryan Howard, ITC director of exhibits."Texas Highways has helped shape perceptions of Texas for residents and visitors since 1974, and for the past 25 years, Griff has shown the beauty, diversity and mystery of our state."

The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday.Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit

Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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