dreams really do come true

San Antonio's brilliant new landmark opens its ruby-red doors to Texas — and rest of the world

San Antonio's new landmark opens doors to Texas and rest of world

Ruby City exterior
Ruby City opens on October 13. Photo by Dror Baldinger/courtesy of Ruby City and Adjaye Associates

Forget the eyes of Texas, the eyes of the entire world will be upon San Antonio next week. Ruby City, one of the most exciting additions to the international art world, officially opens to the public on October 13, and San Antonio is commemorating the opening in style.

As a brief refresher, Ruby City is a massive new 14,472-square-foot contemporary arts center located on Camp Street in San Antonio's Southtown neighborhood. It is considered the crowning achievement of Linda Pace, an artist, longtime San Antonio art patron, and heir to the Pace Foods empire.

Inspired by a dream she recounts in her memoir, Dreaming Red: Creating Artpace, Ruby City was originally envisioned as a way for Pace to display her 900-piece modern art collection. After her death in 2007, the Linda Pace Foundation continued her work, which finally culminates in next week's opening.

Designing Ruby City was the task of famed architect Sir David Adjaye, who also designed the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. In crafting its design, Adjaye was inspired by San Antonio's 16th century Spanish missions and included amber-hued exterior concrete walls to give it that dazzling ruby color.

Under Adjaye's hand, the building has already become a San Antonio landmark and in August was crowned one of TIME's World's Greatest Places 2019 — despite not being open yet. On October 1, the New York Times named Ruby City tops among the world's recent design achievements.  

Ruby City's cultural impact on South Texas and beyond is hard to overstate, and the City of San Antonio is celebrating its opening along with another special art event, it announced on October 1.

In addition to Ruby City's three-part inaugural exhibition, the City of San Antonio is hosting "Sebastian in San Antonio: 50+ Years/20+ sites/100+ works," a citywide retrospective featuring more than 100 works by the Mexican artist. (Eagle-eyed art fans will note that Sebastian is also the artist behind La Antorcha de la Amistad, the towering 63-foot red sculpture centered in the middle of a downtown traffic circle.)

"Sebastian in San Antonio..." will be on display now through May 2020 in locations across the city, including the River Walk, Market Square, Culture Commons Gallery at Plaza de Armas, and the San Antonio International Airport.

Ruby City, meanwhile, will host its grand opening celebration beginning on October 12 with a panel discussion with Adjaye, Kathryn Kanjo, and artist Isaac Julien in Chris Park, a green space also located on the campus. Unsurprisingly, the panel discussion has already reached capacity, but the general public can join on October 13 for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Mayor Ron Nirenberg will do the ceremonial honors at 11 am, and guests can then get a first look at the space when doors officially open at noon.