Donna Simon’s Seeing Art San Antonio tours

Donna Simon's Seeing Art San Antonio tours

Donna Simon (left), David Shelton (center) greet art tour

Providing a behind-the-scenes peek at the work of San Antonio artists, Donna Simon, a retired Brackenridge High School art teacher, conducts guided tours of the city’s studios, artist-run spaces, galleries and museums, which she organizes through her Web site at

On a cold day in early December, she led a small group of art lovers on a tour of Jayne Lawrence’s drawing show “Subject Properties” (which closes Saturday, Jan. 7) at the David Shelton Gallery and the Zollie Glass Studio, the working studio for Jake Zollie Harper and Reagan Johns.

“After I retired from teaching, I wanted to stay involved with the city’s art community so I started the tours in 2006,” Simon says. “Despite the amazing art scene we have in San Antonio, I felt there was a strong disconnect between the public and the city’s artists. Most people don’t have access to artists’ studios. And I feel like one of the best ways to learn about artists’ work is to talk to them and ask them questions about their motivations. In many ways, I still feel like I’m a teacher.”

Owner David Shelton greeted the tour group at his eponymous gallery located in a former convent on South Alamo Street in the King William neighborhood, next door to the Liberty Bar. Known for her elaborate drawings and sculptures that often merge organic and mechanical forms, Lawrence was on hand to talk about her work. She said her career as an artist may have begun with her father’s bedtime stories.

“He would ask me to pick three objects or characters and then he would tie them together into a single narrative,” Lawrence says. “So he would take a doll, a lady bug and a Tonka toy and put them into a story. I feel like that’s when I started putting disparate things together to make art.”

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