Arts, Culture, Wellness – San Antonio is brimming with all three, but the challenge for LSA 44’s ACW team was taking these topics and creating a day that exposed the class to San Antonio’s past, present and future via the next 300 years.
LSA44 began their class day at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in typical San Antonio style – with a mouthwatering spread of breakfast tacos provided by Pete’s Tako House and a side of morning serenata by the Lanier High School Mariachi. Performing arts in schools is a cornerstone of education for many, and Team ACW was honored to give the students a chance to put on a culturally enriching show. Mariachi has recently been named one of the newest University Interscholastic League (UIL) sanctioned events, and Lanier H.S. showed the class they were ready to compete! The Tobin Center also welcomed LSA by providing tours of the amazing facility.
Wellness, as any doctor, gym instructor or mother will tell you, starts at home. Unfortunately, not all San Antonian’s have access to healthy foods or are forced to choose between meals and other necessities for their families. After being introduced to background information on poverty, food deserts and food swamps, LSA44 took matters into their own hands and headed to HEB. At HEB, the class was split into groups of four and asked to provide three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for a fictional family of five. Each team was given $25 and asked to provide nutritious meals under budget. No cent was left unspent, and no nutrition label was left unread!
Afterwards, the class was given a chance to debrief and do what LSA does best – create strategies for the future and solve problems for today! At Denver Heights Community Center, LSA44 dove into roundtable discussions with Michael Guerra – Chief Resource Officer of the San Antonio Food Bank, Valeria Hernandez and Jovana Lopez – People’s Nite Market, and Adrie Jeffers – nutrition coach, Tobin Hill CrossFit. Each of our facilitators spoke with our class about barriers that those on food assistance can face and how we can move the needle forward on eliminating food deserts, food swamps and food insecurity in San Antonio.
The LSA class then headed out and walked the neighborhood streets of Denver Heights to take part in an interactive street art experience alongside the team from the San Anto Cultural Arts Project. Our classmates took part in painting a mural that was representative of the Denver Heights community.
After working up an appetite from all the morning events, the class hopped on the bus to La Villita – a historic and architectural gem in the heart of downtown San Antonio. La Villita is on the U.S. Government’s National Register of Historic Places and is representative of our city’s rich past, as well as its future as it currently plans to undergo a transformative redevelopment. At lunch, class 44 feasted on an authentic meal representative of our great city and prepared by Chefs Johnny Hernandez, Elizabeth Johnson, Steven McHugh and Mr. Ramon Vasquez. Over lunch, the class enjoyed hearing from Colleen Swain, Director of the World Heritage Office, on the impact of UNESCO naming San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy – an honor bestowed upon only two cities here in the United States. Also present was Angela Covo, Editor-in-Chief of Edible SA, who spoke to the group about her experiences in San Antonio and the starting of a magazine that showcased all that San Antonio’s culinary scene had to offer.
Class 44 thoroughly enjoyed lunch and hearing about the sweeping changes happening in our culinary scene and then enjoyed a beautiful stroll to the HemisFair Park grounds where they were welcomed by Omar Gonzalez, Director of Real Estate at the park. Mr. Gonzalez walked the class through the sweeping changes underway at HemisFair and their impact on the surrounding mixed-use urban park district. The future is bright for HemisFair and will include a world class hotel, office complex, residential community and activity lawn for future events. Classmates were then taken for a walking tour of the grounds where they were able to hear about the cultural and art aspects of the park, while taking in all the wellness installations it has to offer. Before boarding the bus they were treated to refreshing Paletas from Paletaria San Antonio.
The next stop was the Southwest School of Art, where the group was met with libations from Busted Sandal Brewing and even got a run down on how the company coined its name from Kelly Kuhle, the brewmaster’s wife. We then put our art caps on as Paula Owen, Southwest School of Art; Sarah Colby, Gemini Ink; Gustavo Garcia, Say Sí; and Aaron Zimmerman, Tobin Center, answered questions on a free flowing panel discussion that gave insight on the art scene in San Antonio, outlets and opportunities for veterans and kids, and even a conversation on how to market a website to draw in more people to the great things going on in our City.
After a short stroll down to the River for a picture, the group had the opportunity to take a cruise down the Riverwalk courtesy of Go Rio. The insight and history of San Antonio from the barge captains was a great send off to happy hour at Paramour. Although it was a tad chilly on the boat, a hug from the one and only Spurs Coyote downstairs and the tunes of J.R Herrera at the bar were a fantastic cap off to great day.