How ‘the weird New Yorkers’ won over (and helped incorporate) one small Texas town
Habitable Spaces’ Full Moon dinners in Kingsbury are just the latest in a decade-plus of reimagining what rural community engagement might look like.
Under every full moon for the past two years, Kingsbury artists Shane and Alison Heinemeier have had their friends over for dinner.
And strangers, of course, but they don’t stay strangers for long.
The Heinemeiers are the homesteading founders of Habitable Spaces, a non-profit farm in Kingsbury that is as much a community gathering space as a living art gallery. Since February 2021, they have hosted dozens of these full moon dinners featuring ingredients that are as local as possible.
I attended one last fall and soon realized that these farm dinners are just the start of a community-building dream the Heinemeiers first had while living as artists in New York City in the early 2000s.
Shane grew up in San Antonio, about an hour away from his grandmother Mary Frances, still the town beauty who rode to school in Kingsbury on a bareback horse, according to town lore.
“They were pretty conservative,” Alison Heinemeier says of her husband’s elders. “Shane is this punk artist hippie, and they never quite understood what he was all about.”
That changed in 2011, when Mary Frances divided up the family land and gave Shane 28 acres of oaks and juniper that had no power, water, or permanent buildings. “We had always dreamed of starting some kind of art residency farm project, but we just didn’t know where,” Alison says.
They packed up and headed to the then-unincorporated town of Kingsbury, which is about 45 miles from San Antonio.
Within a decade, they would transform this little community into a town, literally.
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