Linda Marie Pace, artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, was born the first of two children to David Earl Pace and Margaret Emma (Bosshardt) Pace on April 17, 1945, in San Antonio, Texas. Linda’s mother, an artist and teacher, came from a prominent San Antonio family. Linda’s maternal great-aunt was noted German-American businesswoman Emma Koehler, owner and savior of the Pearl Brewing Company and the eponym for the Hotel Emma, located in the Pearl District of San Antonio. Linda’s maternal grandfather, Frank J. Bosshardt, was a wealthy attorney, landowner, and former Bexar County commissioner in San Antonio. Linda’s father, a retired United States Army Air Forces pilot, inventor, and entrepreneur, descended from a Louisiana syrup-manufacturing family. In 1947 Linda’s parents established Pace Foods with startup money from Linda’s grandmother, Hedwig Koehler Bosshardt, then on the Pearl Brewery board of directors. The company produced more than fifty products but did not become successful until marketing their picante sauce in 1968. In the family kitchen, Linda and her brother, Paul, helped taste-test hundreds of salsas made by their father as he developed what became Pace Picante Sauce.
Linda attended Travis Elementary School in the Monte Vista area of San Antonio and graduated from St. Mary’s Hall, then a private college preparatory high school for girls, in San Antonio in 1962. In fall 1963 she enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and majored in art. In 1966, her junior year, Linda transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on hard-edge abstraction and abstract expressionism. After a notable art professor refused to give her a passing grade unless she promised to no longer paint, however, Linda returned to San Antonio where she married Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury on June 16, 1967, in an elaborate wedding. The couple had two children, Margaret Marie, known as Mardie, and Christopher. Early in the marriage, Linda took care of their children and attended art classes at Trinity University in her spare time while her husband worked for Pace Foods. Later, in 1980, she earned an art degree from Trinity University and credited artist Louis Lubbering for restoring her confidence as an artist.
In 1976 Linda’s parents divorced but remained business partners until in 1977 her mother bought her father’s share of the business and named Kit as company president. In September 1982 Linda and Kit purchased the company from Linda’s mother, who had married prominent artist Robert Willson in 1981. Linda was instrumental in the growth and success of Pace Foods. She provided intellectual ideas for marketing campaigns and engaged in hands-on demonstrations on sales trips as well as invested time and money in opening a new plant in San Antonio that allowed the company to expand its market share in the United States and abroad. During that time the company’s profits surged with a mid-1980s television commercial campaign that touted their made-in-San Antonio authenticity compared to brands from New York City.
In the mid-1980s Linda explored other avenues for creativity and activism. She started Green Expectations, a landscape design company that combined her interests in horticulture and art, as well as provided her some independence. As Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) spread through the local art community, she began volunteering for the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, founded by Robert “Papa Bear” Edwards, who encouraged her to become a care partner for those with the disease. In 1991, the same year salsa sales outpaced ketchup as the best-selling condiment in the nation, Linda and Kit finalized their divorce. She sold her share of Pace Foods to Kit for an undisclosed amount. (Kit sold the company to Campbell’s Soup Company in 1994.) Soon after, Linda married Dick Roberts. Although the marriage was short, ending in 1995, Roberts encouraged her artistic interests, exposed her to London’s art world, and advised her on a few of her future ventures.
With a fondness for both teaching and creating art, Linda was one of the first art instructors at San Antonio’s Southwest School of Art and Craft, (now Southwest School of Art), co-founded by her mother. There Linda and her mother taught classes together. She also curated art shows which allowed her the opportunity to become well-acquainted with other artists such as the well-respected artist and intellectual, Amy Freeman Lee. Linda understood and interpreted art as coming from the unconscious. She was a firm believer in Jungian therapy, which she learned to interpret her own art through the analysis of her dreams. During this stage in her life, she also enrolled in sculpture classes and learned to weld at the San Antonio Art Institute, where she was a loyal patron. There Linda experienced art as an intellectual exercise and learned the importance of personal workspace to an artist as well as receiving respect for one’s creative process. Some of her first metal sculptures included Home Totem, Passages, The Journey, and New Directions. Her art was exhibited at the San Antonio Women’s Guild, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center (see BLUE STAR ART SPACE), and galleries throughout Texas and Colorado. Most notable is Linda’s Red Project which displayed at the San Antonio Museum of Art in June 2001.
Linda also joined the San Antonio Art Institute’s board of trustees in 1989 and devoted considerable energy and time to stabilize financially the school and seek accreditation as a college. Without accreditation, the institution closed in 1993. Linda, however, gained experience and knowledge that she later used to fund and operate future successful projects. She also learned the value of the institute’s visiting artists and contemporary art programs as well as the type of structural support needed for professional artists to thrive. Linda also served as a board member at the National Council of the Aspen Art Museum, an advisory member for the Aspen Arts Institute, and a member of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She was a loyal patron of the San Antonio Museum of Art.
In 1993, with the desire to build an artist-in-residency program in San Antonio, Linda established and funded the Pace-Roberts Foundation for Contemporary Art (renamed the Linda Pace Foundation after her death). She and her foundation team began extensive research into the creation of ArtPace, a self-funded in-residency artist program that would provide funding, space, and freedom to aspiring artists to explore their process and creativity. In preparation, she visited in-residency art studios around the nation, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Dia Center for the Arts in New York, and the Capp Street Project in San Francisco. During the planning stages of ArtPace, Linda launched the London Studio Program. She purchased a studio in the Knightsbridge neighborhood in London, where, in 1994, she sent five San Antonio artists to work for six weeks. She also purchased a building, formerly a car dealership in the 1920s, located near downtown San Antonio as the home for ArtPace.
On January 5, 1995, ArtPace opened its first residency show to the public. Since its opening, ArtPace, which Linda called “her baby,” has welcomed artists of all mediums from around the world and was one of the first art institutions in San Antonio to formally promote museum-quality Mexican-American contemporary art shows. Through the program, Linda helped establish and advance the careers of many notable contemporary artists, many of whose work have won prestigious awards and recognition, including the Turner Prize nomination and inclusion in the Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that displays contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2011 President Barack Obama appointed former in-resident artist and ArtPace board member, Teresita Fernández, as a member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Due to their success, ArtPace became a preview site for curators, started a guest-curator program, a regional artist travel grant program, and created an education position.
In 2001, with ArtPace self-sufficient, Linda focused on artwork commissioned as a tribute to the life of her son, Chris Goldsbury, who died suddenly of a drug overdose in 1997. She settled on the idea of an intimate public park that incorporated landscape and art to honor Chris who shared her artistic interests. For this purpose, she purchased facing properties on Camp Street, including an 83,000-square-foot former candy factory built in 1926, located two miles away from ArtPace. In the old building, Linda created an upscale residential community, called CAMPstreet, where she eventually made her permanent home. Across the street CHRISpark opened to the public in 2005. Designed by Teresita Fernández, it is the only privately-owned public park in San Antonio and is home to SPACE, a gallery collection of contemporary art.
On July 7, 2007, Linda Pace died of cancer at the age of sixty-two. She was survived by her daughter, Mardie, who soon followed her in death in 2010, and her only grandchild, Ava Marie Goldsbury, born to Mardie in 2003. Two months before Linda’s death, she dreamed of a red structure encrusted with jewels. She envisioned it as a public place that would house her art collection and asked London architect David Adjaye to design it. Called Ruby City, the 14,000-square-foot red origami-esque building is located on Camp Street near CHRISpark. After her death, the Linda Pace Foundation funded the project with the 2014 sale of German artist Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild, which Linda purchased in 1993, at an auction in New York for $15 million. When it opened to the public on October 13, 2019, Ruby City housed a collection of more than 900 paintings, sculptures, and installations created and collected by Linda and various local and international contemporary artists.