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“I think I got tired of seeing billboards utilized for almost threatening messages — so you see all this public space that’s available and you never see anything positive up there,” says reformed adman Andy Benavides. The visual pollution inspired SMART — Supporting Multiple Art Resources Together — an evolving campaign that officially kicks off with a community-wide arts fair October 13, 1-11 p.m. at SoFlo’s Gallista, one9zero6, and Salon Mijangos galleries. The focus is education and community-building. “If we don’t make an effort to really open the doors to all the kids in our city,” adds Benavides, “we won’t have an audience in 15 years.”

The SMART Fair is free and open to the public as well as any arts organization and artists. It will include film, poetry, and dance in addition to visual art in every medium, and SAY Sí, San Anto Cultural Arts, and Askew will provide youth-focused activities. The roster is still open. To participate, contact Benavidas at (210) 227-5718, or visit Benavides dreams of the SMART Fair becoming a statewide festival, “and everyone comes out and everyone’s an artist for a day.”

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