LSA 47 Explores San Antonio’s Art & Culture

Leadership San Antonio Class 47 was excited to immerse its members in San Antonio’s rich Arts and Culture scene, focusing on various art forms that tell our Alamo Region’s story – from the past, present, and future.

To kick off the day, the class was treated to breakfast from Bexar Kolaches and coffee from Pulp Coffee Roasters, where James Morales provided brief words about the emerging coffee culture in San Antonio. While moving from one location to the next, the class was greeted with a surprise, local comedian Michelle Cantu, who spent the day entertaining the class.

Class members focused on the performing arts and visited The Public Theater, the oldest public theater west of the Mississippi River and watched a video production prepared by Dave Sims Media. They then experienced traditional flamenco dancing with Flamenco superstar Chayito Champion and members of her company. The class also heard from Beethoven Mannechor, a German Men’s choir founded over 150 years ago.

The next stop was to Mission San Jose and a dive into cultural arts. The class was greeted with music by the Burbank High School Mariachi Band and welcomed by “The People’s King” Rey Feo 74, Larry Kurth. After the ambiance and Fiesta vibes, the class heard from Rebecca Simmons from Las Misiones, the non-profit organization charged with preserving and restoring the churches at the Missions.

The class was then ushered to the Family Service Neighborhood Place on the West side of San Antonio for two panels. The first panel focused on culinary arts featuring chefs Johnny Hernandez and Kristina Zhao and micro brewer Marcus Baskerville and moderated by Tanji Patton. The second panel focused on public art, highlighting the book by Dr. Frederick Preston and Dr. Carmen Tafolla titled “Arte del Pueblo” and facilitated by local artist, Cristina Noriega. Lunch was a fantastic voyage showcasing local culinary artists from Smashin’ Crab, Kirk’s Jerk, Fat Tummy, and Dashi. During the lunch panels, Robert Wilkens painted live for all to see.

The final stop of the day took the class to Ruby City, a contemporary art studio founded by the vision of the late Linda Pace. The class was treated to a private tour by Randy Guthmiller and Kelly O’Connor Calvillo of the art collection and to Chris Park, dedicated to the memory of Linda’s late son Chris, and the Studio.

LSA 47’s Arts and Culture Day hosted class members at Elsewhere to learn about their legacy project: free neighborhood libraries to be placed around the city filled with books donated by the class. While at Elsewhere, the class was privileged to listen to a young DJ from the AM project, a local group teaching young aspiring DJs their craft.

Numerous class members commented on the new information they learned and how impressed they were with how accessible art and culture in the city can be – you don’t need a lot of money or resources to take in the beauty of the city. Our people and our experiences make our city a true gem and needs to be supported and cultivated. Afterall, culture does derive from the Latin word cultus which means to cultivate – how will our leaders continue to ensure that our unique contributions are embraced and celebrated? The challenge is clear but so is the objective. As our city continues to grow, it is important to ensure our art and culture continue to thrive.

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