San Antonio Museum of Art hopes to survive coronavirus pandemic

SAMA says doors are open and asks for community to visit, support, give

SAN ANTONIO – A big part of the fabric of our city is our culture and arts, and some of our most precious museums are at risk because of the financial impacts from the pandemic.

The San Antonio Museum of Art, otherwise known as SAMA, is famous world-wide, visited by presidents of foreign countries and even the king and queen of Spain in 2018. For nearly 40 years, SAMA has been a South Texas educational and cultural staple for tourists and families to gather and learn.

That came to a screeching halt in March with the arrival of the coronavirus and it was forced to close its doors until late May.

“My goodness, the impact has been severe,” Emily Sano, co-interim director of the museum, said.

The museum is now back open, but the non-profit needs the community’s help in order to keep thriving.

“We were eager to have the public come back because we are one of those institutions that are dependent upon admission fees, memberships and donations in order to survive,” Sano said. “I would say we have lost this year $1.5 million that we would’ve expected to gain through admissions, memberships, contributions and so forth.”

She said it’s crucial for SAMA and other art institutions in San Antonio to survive the pandemic and stay open, especially for when tourism picks up again.

“So it’s very important to keep our cultural institutions strong and healthy in order to maintain that attractive city aura that we’ve got,” Sano said.

Here’s what you can see when you visit the museum now:

Latin American Popular Art: ”This gallery was closed for three years after a flood that occurred in the building; therefore, it had to be completely renovated. It just re-opened in September. Many of the most popular things in our collection are on view again and it’s just a stunning colorful exhibition with all sorts embedded in it and we do hope that people will come to see that,” according to Sano.

Exquisite Adornment:

“Our most recent exhibit, about to close in January, is our special exhibition on Miao and Turkmen jewelry. Now this is just a spectacular exhibition that most people have never seen anything like it. We are very proud of this show, so we hope people will come. This is a collection that belongs to a local couple who believe it or not have promised it as a gift to the museum. So we are thrilled to be able to put it on view and in honor of our 40th anniversary, which is 2021, we want to thank this couple for their magnanimous gift,” Sano said.

The museum is open during the holiday season, except it will be closed on Christmas Day and on New Year’s Day. The museum is opens every day at 10 a.m. and is closed on Mondays.

RELATED: San Antonio Museum of Art to offer virtual school tours for students in grades K-12


About the Authors:

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.

Roslyn Jimenez is a news producer for GMSA at KSAT12. Roslyn joined the KSAT12 team in January 2020 after being the First Edition producer for KIII-TV in Corpus Christi.