meanwhile in San Antonio. . .

Local Arts & Cultural Organizations

The city of San Antonio is home to many different arts and cultural organizations — some center on visual arts, while others provide opportunities to enjoy performing arts, such as music and dance. San Antonio has a rich and diverse cultural past and present. Cultural organizations offer creative, and often times historical learning experiences about our community, city, state and world, and about people, as a society, what our artistic and intellectual ideas, beliefs and achievements have been.  Arts and cultural organizations draw us together by helping us to better understand one another. They reach and teach us the old and new things and bring us enjoyment to enrich our lives.

By supporting these local arts organizations and taking advantage of their individual educational opportunities, you are encouraging the ongoing growth of arts and culture in San Antonio.

Artpace | Founded by Linda Pace, Pace conceived of Artpace as a laboratory of dreams, providing artists from all over the world with an environment that would encourage experimentation and growth.

ARTS San Antonio | ARTS SA’s mission is to enhance the cultural and educational environment of San Antonio by presenting high quality visual and performing arts.

Ballet San Antonio | Ballet San Antonio  has been reaching approximately 40,000 members of our community every year – not just through our regular performances but through a variety of community outreach initiatives.

Bihl Haus Arts | Nurtures and promotes the work of diverse visual and cultural artists in San Antonio; Fosters artistic excellence and intergenerational and multicultural understanding and awareness; Creates community between seniors enrolled in the GO! Arts program, area established and emerging artists, members of surrounding neighborhoods, and the global art culture; and • Builds collaborations with other cultural and social service organizations to maximize access to collective resources.

Blue Star Contemporary Art Center | Blue Star is an innovative contemporary art museum whose mission is to “inspire the creative genius in us all.”

Carver Community Cultural Center  | The mission of the Carver Community Cultural Center is to celebrate the diverse
cultures of our world, nation and community, with emphasis on its African and
African-American heritage, by providing challenging artistic presentations,
community outreach activities and educational programs.

Centro Cultural Aztlan | Centro Cultural Aztlan is a community based organization with a mission to preserve, develop and promote Chicano/Latino art and culture.

Children’s Chorus of San Antonio |  From infants to young adults, CCSA is dedicated to enriching and expanding the experiences of young people through choral singing and musical performance. CCSA’s commitment to artistic excellence, social inclusion and individual responsibility empowers young singers to embrace and explore a broader, more positive view of self and the world.

Children’s Fine Arts Series | The only organization of its kind which presents performing arts exclusively for young children.

Choose to Dream | Dedicated to developing youth in the study of the Arts, Communication and Leadership. Musical Theatre and Musical Theatre Camp.

Classic Theatre   | The Classic Theatre’s mission is to reinvigorate and create new audiences for the theatre by presenting professional productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces and new material for residents of and visitors to San Antonio.

The DoSeum (Formerly the San Antonio Children’s Museum)  San Antonio’s new museum for kids, opening  June 6, 2015.  Is comprised of a series of three, two-story exhibit halls totaling 65,000 square feet. Between each exhibit hall, glass facades will create daylight-flooded transitional spaces that connect visitors to the additional 39,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit yards.

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center  | Esperanza works to preserve and promote artistic and cultural expression of and among diverse communities.

Get Creative San Antonio | The city of San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development’s homepage for Arts and Culture.

Gemini Ink | Gemini Ink offers a variety of community writing classes and workshops.

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center | The Guadalupe Arts Center’s mission is to promote and preserve Latino arts and culture in San Antonio.

Magik Theatre | Magik Theatre aims to “nurture a love and understanding of theatre and literature by providing extraordinary, affordable, and professional theatre and education experiences.”

McNay Art Museum | Texas’s first museum of modern art, the McNay houses nearly 20,000 works from Medieval and Renaissance pieces to the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

My Art Starz | My Art Starz offers after school art classes for children, as well as mobile art parties and summer camps.

Overtime Theatre Innovative and accessible theatre at an affordable price. Experience new, original works, or new, unconventional adaptations of old classics.

Pixel SAAVI  At Pixel Saavi, painting is for everyone. Digital Painting and social event all rolled into one fun party.

The Renaissance Guild San Antonio’s Premier Black Theatre Company

San Anto Cultural Arts The largest contributor to public art in San Antonio, to foster human and community development through community based arts programs.

San Antonio Opera | Resident opera company at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

San Pedro Playhouse | The Playhouse’s mission is to bring the community together through the enjoyment of high quality theatre for all ages.

SAY Si | SAY Si provides students opportunities to develop both artistic and social skills to encourage future academic success.

Southwest School of Art | The school, which also offers a museum, is a nationally-recognized leader in arts education, currently offering studio programs for more than 4,000 adults, children and teens annually on its campus.

San Antonio Symphony | The San Antonio Symphony, in addition to providing high quality musical performances, offers an array of educational opportunities for students.

Urban-15 | Urban-15 offers a variety of free classes to young children and seniors

Witte Museum | The Witte offers exhibitions and programs on natural history, science, and South Texas heritage.

Woodlawn Theatre Woodlawn Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to creating opportunities for its surrounding community by providing quality, entertaining, educational, and affordable programming for all ages. A historic theatre, located in the Deco district of San Antonio, regular live community theatre performances and educational programs sustain traditional theatre for all to enjoy.

Young Orchestra of San Antonio | YOSA is comprised of eight orchestras, which rehearse weekly throughout the school year. The organization is involved in several school partnerships and offers music camps during the summer.





When you walk through the halls of the Bonham Exchange, you’re not just walking into the hottest night club in San Antonio, you’re literally traveling back into time.  Our history extends back to 1891.  That’s when Turn Verin, a German athletic association, whose purpose was to the improvement of the mind through the development of the body, purchased the land our beloved Bonham sits on.


On April 18 of that year, architect James Wahrenberger and builder Adam Maurer, set out to erect Turner Hall for just under $35,000.  The building would contain a bowling alley, a gymnasium, and a grand ballroom for formal events.  The 20,000 square foot facility would be covered in pressed Chicago brick, lined with Kerrville limestone, and granite.


Nine months later, on January 30, 1892, a luxurious and festive grand opening party was held.  It was covered by the then, San Antonio Daily Express, which would later become the San Antonio Express News.  It was acclaimed as an affair worthy of the occasion, eclipsed in elegance by everyone who had witnessed it, and would be remembered in local social circles for many years.  However, the founding family, the Turners, faced some struggles in the coming decades as their children did not share their love and enthusiasm for fitness nor the essential interest in the athletic association. Nonetheless, the Turners had ideas for expanding the Hall.

In February of 1929, plans were drawn up to add on an additional 10-stories.  That expansion would also include a 3rd story swimming pool, basketball courts, office space, club room, and a formal dining room.  However, a few months later, the Great Depression hit and the Turners struggled to keep up their loan payments to the bank.  In 1932, they defaulted on their loan of the Hall.

The United States government purchased the property ten years later for $90,000 to house a new USO office downtown.  But with all the anti-German sentiment flourishing during World War II, many of the historical and memorable German markings of the old Hall were removed from the decor.  The stone marking Turner Hall was also taken down outside and many of the ornate stained glass windows, depicting Stars of David, inside the ballroom were boarded over.  The final architectural insult was that the gorgeous brick exterior was painted with a drab olive green.  Decades later, during restoration, the sandblasting to remove the paint would destroy the patina and waterproofing of the brick.


The USO used the Bonham building for almost 30 years and then relocated to Hemisfair Plaza in the 1970s.  After that, the government turned it into a storage facility for the downtown post office.

However in 1980, downtown developer Arthur P Veltman (other known as “Hap” or Happy”), was scouting the area for a new location to replace his previous gay nightclub The San Antonio Country, which had recently been purchased by the Valero Corporation in a much publicized event.  He fell in love with our Beloved Turner Hall, choosing the building for its beauty and history.  That began a costly renovation process for the long, long neglected building.

The Bonham Exchange opened its doors to club patrons in July 1981 with a great grand party, similar to the Hall’s original opening nearly a century prior and we have been going strong ever since.  Hap was a great man with a great vision.  The world truly lost a visionary with his rather sudden and untimely death in December of 1988.  He entrusted the club to the two beneficiaries in his estate, Kenneth Garrett, who still heads the club today, and Wade Strauch, who was also lost to an untimely death in 1992.

Today the Bonham Exchange is over 120 years old and is known as San Antonio’s premier downtown hot spot for over 30 years.  We have been the host to many big name entertainers over the years, including, but not limited to: Tina Turner, the Ramones, the Bangles, Iggy Pop, Bronski Beat, The Thompson Twins, Simple Minds, Georgia Ragsdale, Debra Harry, Black Box, Martha Wash, Taylor Dayne, RuPaul, Real Life, Pamela Stanley, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Lonnie Gordon, and Ministry.  We have also hosted celebrity events and sightings with such stars as: Helen Reddy, Puff Daddy, Prince, Patrick Swayze, Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, Ashley Judd.  Not to mention cast parties with touring Broadway Shows such as: Greater Tuna, Will Rogers Follies, Hello Dolly!, Buddy the Buddy Holly Story, Fiddler on the roof, The Phantom of the Opera National Tour I & II, Jesus Christ Superstar, South Pacific, Swing!, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, BLAST!, Mamma Mia!, Cats, Grease, Singin’ in the Rain, La Cage Aux Folles, Chicago, Cabaret, Les Miserables, The Producers, Aida, and 42nd street. Also the Moscow Ballet and The Nutcracker Russian Ballet.


If you look around you’ll see we recently (2012) went through a massive renovation.  We restored, replaced, and refinished over 10,000 square feet of hardwood floors. We recarpeted, repainted, rewired, replumbed, redecorated, and revamped your favorite San Antonio Nightlife Spot.

We don’t like to drop a dollar figure on exactly how much this massive renovation cost us, trust and believe, it was pricey but well worth it.  Let us just say you, our customers, patrons, friends, and family (and when you are here, you are family), were well worth it.  Because without you, we wouldn’t be here, there would be no need to remodel, no need to restock the bar, no need to spin tunes, or keep the dance floor open.  We appreciate each and every one of you.

Our Mission: At the Bonham Exchange we strive to not only provide a safe venue for music and dancing, but to change with the times.  We hope to expose people to new ideas and to maintain a space where ALL individuals can get along and enjoy each other’s company, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, age, or sexual preference.  We invite you to come out, be whoever you want to be, and have a great time without fear of criticism.  This is the legacy of the Bonham Exchange, as envisioned by Hap Veltman.

Blue Star Contemporary


Upcoming Events

  • Soft Opening: Reach

    November 30, 2017 6:00 pm – November 30, 2017 8:00 pm

    @ Showdown Gallery

    More information →

  • The Fabbyloso Unicorn Art Show

    November 30, 2017 6:00 pm – November 30, 2017 11:00 pm

    @ The Brick at Blue Star

    More information →


    December 7, 2017 6:00 pm – December 7, 2017 8:00 pm

    @ Blue Star Contemporary

    More information →

  • Film Friday at BSC – Who Does She Think She Is?

    December 15, 2017 6:00 pm – December 15, 2017 9:00 pm

    @ Blue Star Contemporary

    More information →


    January 18, 2018 6:00 pm – January 20, 2018 8:00 pm

    @ Blue Star Contemporary

    More information 

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