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History of the Alamo Kiwanis Charity Art Show

Great Artwork, for a great cause

portrait On August 29, 1963, Harry Halff, president of the Alamo Kiwanis Club Charities, presented to his fellow Kiwanians his fundraising brainchild – a western art show and sale to be exhibited during the annual San Antonio Rodeo Livestock Exposition.

The first Alamo Kiwanis Club Western & Heritage Art Show and Sale was set up in part of the cow barns on the grounds of the 1964 Livestock Exposition. The barn walls were draped with blue velvet and hung with 272 paintings, valued from $20 to $4,000, that were provided by 97 guest artists. Five thousand visitors paid fifty cents to view the artwork. A special exhibit of nine Remington bronzes, on loan from the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, highlighted the inaugural event.

The first year the show did not make a profit. However, it was so well received the club members decided to make it an annual event. The second year showed a small profit and by the third year in 1966, the event generated a profit over $3,000. It was during the same year that the preview cocktail party was initiated on the night before the official opening to entertain prospective buyers.

It was not long before the Western & Heritage Art Show and Sale became a standard stop on everyone’s circuit of the rodeo grounds. In 1996 the event was moved to the Texas Pioneer, Trail Drivers, and Texas Rangers Memorial Museum on Broadway. In 2011 the art show was moved to the Pearl Brewery Full Goods Breezeway. This year to get back to a Texas feel, the event will be held in the beautiful ranch-like setting of the Lonesome Dove Room in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center located on the banks of the San Antonio River.

Funds raised through the volunteer efforts of the Alamo Kiwanis Club members, including the Alamo Kiwanis Charity Art Show and Fiesta Noche del Rio, have always been designated for local children’s charities in the San Antonio region. From its first profit of $3,000 in 1966, the Western & Heritage Art Show has grownsuch that over $200,000 was donated to children’s charities over the past two years as a result of this exciting event! To date, over $2.75 million has been donated by the Alamo Kiwanis Club to these diverse youth organizations.

Please help us to continue the wonderful tradition of “Great Art for a Great Cause”.