Last updated: 9/30/2013
San Antonio, Texas
Street Address
300 Augusta @ Navarro
San Antonio, TX 78205
Mailing Address
300 Augusta
San Antonio, TX 78205
phone: 210-224-1848
Visitor Center Museum
Monday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday11 AM - 4 PM
Paula Owen, President
phone: 210-224-1848
Kathy Armstrong, Director of Exhibitions
phone: 210-224-1848
Barbara Hill, Director of Public Programs
phone: 210-224-1848
Steve Strapple, Director of Operations
phone: 210-224-1848
Leigh Baldwin, Director of Communications

With focus and great energy, the Southwest School of Art preserves visual art forms and cultural traditions, while offering comprehensive studio classes focused on innovative contemporary interpretations of those traditions.

Artistic excellence, community relevance, historic preservation and dynamic contemporary exhibitions are the school's guiding principals. Departments are:
· Painting & printmaking
· Ceramics
· Jewelry & metals
· Photography
· Paper & Book arts
· Fiber arts
· Digital imaging


The Southwest School of Art is located in downtown San Antonio, on the site of the historic Ursuline Convent and Academy. The convent was first established in 1851, when seven French nuns from New Orleans and Galveston arrived in San Antonio with the purpose of starting San Antonio's first school for girls. The site expanded throughout the 1850s and 1860s, when the dormitories and chapel were designed by French-educated architect and city planner Francois Giraud. The Academy operated in its downtown location until 1965. After the academy moved, the San Antonio Conservation Society purchased the property, and in 1971, offered it to the Southwest Center.

Over the next ten years, with the leadership and vision of its founding members, the Southwest Center purchased the property from the Conservation Society and restored the buildings and gardens. It is now a Texas Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The most recent expansion of the School was the opening of the newly renovated Navarro Campus building, adding 33,000 square feet of studio and exhibition space in 1998. This was also the occasion for the renaming of the institution to the Southwest School of Art. The SSA estimates that approximately 250,000 visitors and students participate in its events and programs every year.

Artifact Collections

The school's exhibition policy is to show respected contemporary work by local, regional, national and international artists.

Its only permanent collection is contained in its Visitor Center's Museum,consisting of artifacts, commentary, and photographs from its historic Ursuline Convent & Academy site, as well as from the school's early days.

Educational Programs

We offer more than 100 studio classes each term, with three terms a year, for adults, children and teens at all levels. More than 4000 students annually study ceramics, painting/drawing/printmaking; fiber arts; paper and book arts; photograhpy; metals and jewelry; and other media at the school. Also, artist residencies, demonstrations and lectures; an annual art fair; and a summer art program for youth and teens with 9 weeks of programming. Faculty is highly professional; approximately 120 artists teach at the school. In addition, SSA mobilizes art teachers to work throughout the community, with yearly attendance of 25,000 San Antonio youth in art classes.


Board of Trustees


Access: Scholars, Staff Only

Appointment required: Yes


Exhibition catalogs and an annual report may be available. A Course Catalog is published three times per year. Please visit for current information.

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Richmond, Virginia

Riggs Ward Design (RWD) is an award-winning experience planning and design studio headquartered in historic Richmond, Virginia. Over the past 24 years, we have provided experience design, strategic master planning, interpretive planning, research, content analysis, and storyline development for museums, universities, corporations, and cultural institutions. RWD’s services also include exhibit ephemera, books, and fundraising campaign materials.

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