Empanadas by Chef Rene Guerrero — Photo courtesy of Rene Guerrero
If you're tired of shopping at homogenous malls where everything looks the same because it is the same – and if you're more inclined to see, touch and taste, as opposed to shopping online from your couch – then shopping at San Antonio's Brick Marketplace is the ideal alternative!
Brick Marketplace is just one of the spaces at the larger Blue Star Arts Complex, a gem of the Southtown Arts District. Besides featuring the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Museum, the complex is home to a number of galleries, restaurants and bars.
Brick is a great event venue for weddings, product launches, wine tastings, art exhibitions, dance performances, media installations, music shows, improv theatre, fashion shows, pop-up dinner clubs and almost anything that nurtures art and artists.
Inside Brick Marketplace — Photo courtesy of Rene Guerrero
Nestled in the middle of Blue Star Arts Complex, Brick Marketplace offers a baroque-style to industrial-chic environment with its two 80-year-old German chandeliers at the center of the space. It's like waking into a blank canvas. Like a chameleon, Brick changes as the event dictates.
Most Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. – and during the First Friday arts walks – Brick transforms into a fun and funky artisan market featuring mostly handmade goods and treats. Their mission is to bring together all kinds of art forms in a space that welcomes self-expression and experimentation.
Owners Mike Looney and Elizabeth Ciarfeo – along with Marlys Dietrick, Danny Marvain, Michael Julian, Andy Reynolds, Nick Heinrichs, Trina Bacon and Noah Collins – have come together to create an artistic pop-up space in the middle of Blue Star Arts Complex.
New to the Southtown scene, which has always been known for its avant-garde ways that fly in the face of San Antonio's traditionally conservative crowd, Brick Marketplace hosts a procession of personalities with a ringing of repartee in a theater-style, street market scene, a nod to the prior coolness of the pre-existing urban theatre here, no doubt.
The stylish and eccentric charm of the marketplace encourages shoppers to come as you are and sample the array of cool wares on offer. You can find things like healthy, handmade doggy treats; one-of-a-kind artwork, such as paintings by world-renowned artist Franco Mondini-Ruiz; jewelry and vintage clothes from local celeb Agosto Cuellar; and fantastic edibles.
Local chef Rene Guerrero makes the most scrumptious empanadas each Sunday, made with fresh ingredients in a beautiful golden pastry. You can expect to find flavors like sweet potato; Mexican chorizo and pineapple; white bean and smoked turkey; picadillo; vegetarian borracho black bean; and bacon cheeseburger.
And a permanent fixture at Brick is an offbeat shop called Tatum Originals Retail Gallery, which features exquisitely oddball clothes and art produced by one of San Antonio's most famous artists: Robert Tatum.
It should be said that if you're looking for unique gifts, original artwork or just a place to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon, then Brick marketplace should be at the top of your list!