Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Contemporary Art for San Antonio

Inspire. Nurture. Innovate.

aka Blue Star Contemporary

San Antonio, TX


The mission of Blue Star Contemporary is to inspire the creative genius in us all by nurturing artists through innovative contemporary art. Developed from a grassroots event in July of 1986, BSC is the first and longest-running venue for contemporary art in San Antonio. Today, BSC presents nearly 20 onsite and offsite exhibitions each year, with complementary public programs designed to extend the contemporary art dialogue. BSC also provides creative youth development programs Creative Classrooms and the MOSAIC Student Artist Program. For San Antonio artists, BSC provides career development and international exchange through our Berlin Residency Program. BSC is a WAGE Certified organization, committed to paying artists for their creative contributions to our programs.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Mary Heathcott

Main Address

116 Blue Star

San Antonio, TX 78204 USA


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Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

Art Museums (A51)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Blue Star Contemporary's programs respond to the following needs:
• The development of a variety of programs that support critical thinking and dialogue on contemporary art (National Art Education Association);
• The reduction of barriers to public participation in high-quality programs for audiences of all ages (adults, children, families) (National Endowment for the Arts);
• The creation of participatory experiences—not merely viewing, but interacting to create meaningful learning encounters (National Assembly of State Art Agencies and Wallace Foundation); and
• The support of more culturally diverse programs (The Cultural Planning Group).

Locally, we address community needs as identified by SA2020 by increasing:
• Attendance for arts and culture;
• Economic impact of creative sector;
• Employment in creative industries; and
• Audience satisfaction with arts and culture.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

MOSAIC Student Artist Program

The Berlin Residency Program


Creative Classrooms

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of participants engaged in programs

Population(s) served


Related program


Context notes

This is our onsite visitorship to BSC by calendar year. This metric does not include offsite and public art exhibitions visitorship. In FY16, we temporarily closed for renovations.

Total dollars paid to artists

Population(s) served

Artists and performers

Context notes

Results are by Fiscal Year, October - September. In 2016, BSC became a WAGE Certified Organization (, and we pay artists according to WAGE's scale.

Average grant amount

Population(s) served


Context notes

Determined by fiscal year (October - September), excludes capital improvements grants

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Blue Star Contemporary inspires the creative genius in us all by nurturing artists through innovative contemporary art.

In 2015, BSC's staff and Board of Directors convened to create our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. Together, we determined we wanted to see the following in place for BSC by 2020:
• Financial strength and sustainability;
• Known as leaders in contemporary art throughout the US;
• State of the art facility;
• Expanded and enhanced programs for all ages;
• Increased capacity through partnerships and collaborations;
• Strong administrative capacity;
• Exhibitions that further then contemporary art dialogue; and
• Engaged and diverse Board.

Our strategies are:

• Create innovative programs
• Strengthen financial stability
• Ensure an upgraded long-term facility
• Increase visibility and influence
• Develop our people and best practices

Blue Star Contemporary: • Is Open and Inclusive — We are welcoming and open, with a diverse groups of supporters and audiences. BSC is a place for everyone, with contemporary art as the common denominator. • Is a Home for Innovative and Progressive Exhibitions — We focus on contemporary art, with no compromises. Our exhibitions are challenging and cutting-edge, and include emerging and established artists. • Has a Comprehensive and Integrated Approach to Art Education — We are committed to multi-tiered education that includes professional development opportunities for students, and artists as educators in our public programs. • Maintains a Commitment to Best Practices in Museum Management — We are committed to stewarding relationships with funders and responsible fundraising. We are committed to a strong staff and Board. • Is a Partner for Artists — BSC advocates for artists and offers development opportunities through programs like the Berlin Residency and our WAGE Certification.

We track our progress throughout the year, with updates given at each Board meeting, and new goals set each year. • Create innovative programs — BSC's staff and Programs Cmte meet to evaluate BSC's programs and community needs, incorporate feedback, and build partnerships with area nonprofits. • Strengthen financial stability — BSC measures funding sources, income/expense actuals to budget, and cash flow. Staff and the Finance Cmte regularly reviews statements, and BSC completes an elective audit each year. • Ensure an upgraded long-term facility — BSC's Building & Facilities Cmte reviews the physical plant for code compliance, safety, and accessibility. • Increase visibility and influence — BSC measures the critical reception of its programs and tracks attendance and location data of visitors. • Develop our people and best practices — BSC's staff regularly participate in professional development activities. BSC maintains a Board matrix of skills, interests, and professions.

• Create innovative programs — We've added a number of public programs to our calendar, expanded our public hours, and added staff. • Strengthen financial stability — BSC completes elective audits, and has garnered support from local and national funders. In 2018/19, BSC will launch an endowment campaign. BSC's income has grown 42% in the last 3 years. • Ensure an upgraded long-term facility — BSC signed a 20-year lease and completed part of our capital projects plan. A major grant support new technology infrastructure. BSC continues to fundraise for the next phase. • Increase visibility & influence — A major grant helped BSC invest in marketing and promotions in 2017, including signage on the building's exterior. BSC tracks press mentions, followers, subscribers, visitors, and applicants to our Open Call. • Develop our people & best practices — All staff have participated in workshops, conferences, and webinars. The Board conducts regular evaluations, including the CCAT.

External Reviews


Contemporary Art for San Antonio

Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

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  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity