Tentsallation - CODAworx


Submitted by Kara Salinas


Client: Luminaria

Location: San Antonio, TX, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $5,000

Project Team


Kara Salinas


Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival


Tentsallation was created to define the existing bridge located at Hays Street in a constellation of forms quilting together tents of varying colors. Tentsallation Medium consists of fabric, wood, and nylon with dimensions: 60″ x 48″ x 30″. This sculpture illuminated the night sky at Hays Street Bridge for Luminaria onlookers. Each piece of the tension sculpture was suspended from Hays Street Bridge on the overhead and diagonal steel truss for Luminaria 2016 in San Antonio Texas. This sculpture consists of approximately 22-29 tents that can be reconfigured to fit the installation location.


Participants were greeted upon first view by the Hays Street bridge, which was geometrically cloaked in a pseudo-skin construction of tent-like materials. The illuminated facets were woven within the bridge structure. Onlookers observed the lit material, which varied in color and visible lumen. Lumen being a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by the source. The goal was to develop a visually sensory experience as Luminaria guests traveled across the bridge guided by the illuminated fabric structures to create an effect of lanterns contrasted by the night sky. The success of "Tentsallation" depended upon weaving and securing the individual pieces within the existing structure of the bridge thus reinforcing the entire sculpture held in tension.


As the artist and designer of "Tentsallation" I was responsible with collaborating with the hired fabricators by providing sketches and construction drawings in order to fulfill the project specifications. A primary requirement to be hired by Luminaria was to collaborate with the festival project manager in order to provide an on time deliverable. Finally, during installation I was required to manage, install, and work with the hired staff of Luminaria (lift operators, light rigging, etc.).

Additional Information

This art asks the viewers what connects people or neighborhoods? How can we celebrate the lives of all people in these modern and uncertain times? The art piece intended to evoke beauty and wonder while inviting the public to question feelings about structures in our current society. The refugee crisis is heavily debated in modern society, and as a citizen of the world I believe it is our duty to see these people and temporary structures less as a threat, and more as a bridge to a more tolerant society.