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Blue Star hosts 'China' photo exhibit by Romo

By Grace Hernandez
UTSA Director of Institutional Diversity

(Aug. 30, 2006)--The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center will present "China," an exhibit of photographs by UTSA President Ricardo Romo, from Aug. 31 to Oct. 1 in Gallery 4 at the center.

An opening reception, free and open to the public, is 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 31.

Curated by UTSA art specialist Arturo Almeida, the exhibit of photographs from Romo's recent trip to China is part of FOTOSEPTIEMBRE USA, an annual national forum that celebrates photography and photography-based art forms. In this exhibit, Romo uses vibrant color to contrasts old and new, while considering the historical significance of the subject matter.

"China" features Romo's photos of school children in the Xian region as they returned from a field trip to the Terracotta Warriors excavation, the fishing village in Xhou Xiang where he captured the essence of daily life, and the masks and terracotta replicas sold at the local market.

According to Almeida, "Dr. Romo's love of history and culture is reflected in his photographs and the art he collects. He has opened my eyes to appreciating and preserving the richness of all cultures, especially Latino culture."

A native of San Antonio's West Side, Romo developed an interest in photography while a student at UT Austin in the 60s. "When I wasn't running track, I liked to travel, so I bought my first 35 millimeter in my freshman year before taking a trip to Europe," said Romo.

After UT Austin, Romo attended Loyola Marymount University, where he received a master's degree in history. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in history at UCLA, where he taught and authored "East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio."

He returned to UT Austin in 1980 to teach history before becoming vice provost for undergraduate education, and came back to San Antonio in May 1999 to become UTSA's fifth president.

His photographs have been exhibited at various venues throughout the city including the Joan Grona Gallery and Instituto de Mexico.

One source of inspiration for his photography is his wife, Harriett Romo, UTSA associate professor of sociology. "Where I tend to want to take more documentary photographs, Harriett is my artistic eye," said Romo.

For a man of many dimensions, that sounds like a perfect balance to me.

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The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center is at South Alamo and Probandt streets south of downtown San Antonio. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. For more information, call (210) 227-6960.

A nonprofit, non-collecting organization, the center works to advance the growth and understanding of contemporary art, artists and the curatorial process. Through exhibitions and a variety of programs, Blue Star helps develop regional, national and international contemporary art and provides a lively forum for the visual arts dialogue.

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