Access… Awareness… Action. These were central themes touched on throughout Leadership San Antonio 46’s Quality of Life day – which examined what the pursuit of joy means for our neighbors across the city.

To start the day, class members were greeted by Clifford the Big Red Dog from KLRN as they boarded the bus to their first location. The day began at Texas Public Radio and La Zona, where they heard from TPR reporter Jack Morgan; Andi Rodriguez, Vice President of Cultural Placemaking at Centro San Antonio; and Blair Thompson, CEO of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives. Ayu Kitchen, Class 46’s very own Gigi Kamali, provided a healthy breakfast, including wellness shots. At La Zona, the class took part in “Painting, Puppies and Poses,” experiencing firsthand how public art, animals and exercise play pivotal roles in shaping quality of life. Working with artist SCOTCH! class members painted a mural on one of La Zona’s walls. Participants also met one of God’s Dogs’ adoptable puppies and had a yoga lesson with Connie Lozano.

After departing La Zona, LSA 46 visited the Majestic and Empire Theaters. Class members experienced performances from Nicolas Barrón and Esmerelda Trevino, winners of Las Casas Foundation’s Joci Awards, which provides scholarships for students wanting to pursue higher education. They heard from the students and Director of Operations at Las Casas Doren Fein about how access in the arts is expanding, with Esmeralda speaking to why representation matters and how you can “be the voice” for your community.

Over lunch, class members heard from a panel representing various arts sectors – from music and performance art, to culinary arts and architecture/green space. Panelists were introduced by Denise Hernandez, Vice President of Operations at True Flavors and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Chair of the Board, who catered lunch. The panel was moderated by Suhail Arastu, Advancement – Musical Bridges Around the World, and included Claudia de Vasco, Executive Artistic Director of the Public Theater; Andres Andujar CEO of Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation; and Chef Johnny Hernandez. The panel explored where quality of life stands for San Antonians and what the future holds for our growing city.

Class members then had a behind-the-scenes tour of the Majestic. Festive snacks were provided by Wow Wow Lemonade and Gracie’s Ice Cream Truck. They wrapped up in the Empire Theater, where they experienced a celebration of the arts across San Antonio. Performers included the Divas of Eastwood representing the Carver Cultural Community Center, the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, the Woodlawn Theater and the Guadalupe Dance Company. From “A Chorus Line” to baile folklórico, the class gained a deeper understanding of the diversity art in our community.

The day culminated at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, where J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., President of the Tobin Endowment and Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission, highlighted the role of art in a thriving community. Michael Fresher, President and CEO of the Tobin Center, covered the work the Tobin has done in creating an environment that is more inclusive for everyone. He spoke of the impact that seeing adults at their sensory-friendly performances made on him. To wrap up the evening, the class was treated to a concert by Texas country music artists Cory Morrow and John Carroll. Class members built on the foundation of art as a catalyst for connection through dance and conversation.

Quality of Life day illustrated how art has the capacity to create connection with family, friends, oneself and our community. What class members carried away was a shared vision for a San Antonio in which everyone has a place in pursuit of their joy.

Learn more about the organizations featured throughout the day at

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