KWA Newsletter Articles

The next big restoration project in the neighborhood is for us all. The Mennonite Church is restoring their space into a usable space of creativity, restoration, and healing. The church on the corner is a place of refugee response, musical heritage, and peace-building. Mennonites are from the peace-tradition of Christians, a strand that broke off from the Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago in opposition to state-sponsored religion and violence. Today we teach peace-building, host the Conjunto Heritage Taller (a musical heritage preservation organization), the PEACE Initiative (an anti-domestic abuse and healing agency), the Migrant Center (a pro-bono center for asylum-seeking refugees in detention centers south of San Antonio), and a few other organizations that support the vulnerable and needy. We also host a corps of Mennonite Voluntary Service workers in the King William neighborhood - a group living in simple Christian community and serving the impoverished around our city.

The San Antonio Mennonite Fellowship has been in the beautiful and historic church-building on the corner of St. Mary’s and Eagleland Streets since the 1980s. We are now beginning a major renovation and restoration project in partnership with Fisher Heck Architects, with the goal of offering our neighborhood a community center that fosters creativity and healing. We are working to combine preservation, environmental stewardship, and community service to anchor this corner of the neighborhood with a spirit of love and hope.

Our summer has been dramatically influenced by the crisis of the refugee family separation on our southern border. The Christian scriptures are very clear about how to respond to the desperate suffering, and our church offers a number of ways to get involved with the refugees on the border and within our city. Visit our website, at sanantoniomennonite.org for more information. We have both sheltered refugee families and partnered with multiple organizations that serve these families at different points in their journey.

The church on the corner is a place to learn about the mystical traditions of Christian meditation, how to play the accordion, the seven researched principles that make a marriage work, the five ways you can support Central American refugees this summer, how to support a woman in an abusive relationship, and how to become a peace-building member of your family and community.

In Pau’s shortest letter in the New Testament, he writes to a slave owner, Philemon, asking him to do the right thing and to do it out of love. The San Antonio Mennonite Church is humbly striving to do just that.

Bue Star Contemporary is excited to announce some changes to their membership program! Along with simplifying membership levels, adding a corporate membership program and exhibition sponsorship opportunities, we are delighted to extend a complimentary membership to artists living and working in San Antonio.

As an artist-centric nonprofit organization, BSC is committed to nurturing artists, and we believe that access to the arts and artists makes our community strong and vibrant. Just as we are a W.A.G.E. Certified organization- committed to paying artists for all of their creative work that enlivens our exhibitions and programs— so are we dedicated to a welcoming artistic community. For more information on the complimentary Artist Membership program along with the changes to personal and corporate memberships, please visit bluestarcontemporary.org.

And speaking of membership, on Thursday, August 16 from 6:00 –8:00 p.m., we welcome BSC Members to join artist Andrei Renteria for our next BSC Members Drink and Draw! Andrei is an alumnus of the BSC Berlin Residency Program, and his Drink and Draw project (details on our website!) overlaps with conversations sparked our current group exhibition From Underfoot: Breaking Through Surface and Ground. Join us in the gallery for drinks, art, and conversation — all materials provided, but please register so we have enough for everyone!

H-E-B Family Saturday will be held on Saturday, August 11 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Families and kids of all ages are invited to attend this event, sponsored by H-E-B Tournament of Champions. This free public program focuses on our current exhibitions and brings together local artists and community organizations to offer creative activities. Works on view become the inspiration for art making, and kids learn how to look at and understand contemporary art better through fun activities.

Finally, on Friday, August 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., join us for our series Film Friday featuring Waste Land, a film chronicling the work of Artist Vik Muniz with the categories – self-designated pickers of recyclable materials – of Rio de Janeiro’s (and the world’s) largest garbage dump. Highlighting our current exhibition, From Underfoot: Breaking through Surface and Ground – which explores the relationship between humans and the terrestrial – we become witness to the transformation of discarded materials into art and the power of art to be transformational.

-- Inessa Kosub, Public Affairs and Engagement Manager

 

The house at 322 Washington Street has gone through several reincarnations over the years. It began its life in 1901 on the near north side at the southwest corner of East Elmira and Lexington Streets. It was a two- story gabled, yellow brick Victorian with leaded and beveled glass front door and side lights. Inside were several fireplaces and fine carved woodwork, beautiful French parquet floors and heavy pocket doors.

Various families lived in the house over the years, among them, Ferdinand Herff, Jr. and his wife Zulema, who bought the house in 1914 for $18,000 and lived there until the late 1920s. Ferdinand Herff, Jr., son of the more renowned Dr. Ferdinand Herff, Sr., was president and chairman of the board of the San Antonio Bank. By the late 1940s, it was rented to Worthy Wolff who turned the downstairs into a restaurant with a nightclub upstairs.

In 1951, the site was being cleared for construction of the Pan Am Expressway. The house was saved from the wrecking ball when it was stripped of its brick and moved in four sections to its present location, a lot on Washington Street which had been part of the Carl Groos estate. When reassembled, the house was given a Spanish or Mediterranean character – stuccoed outside with arches and tiled porches. From the 1950s to the early 2000s, the house was owned and occupied by members of the Ramirez family. You can see from the current photo that the house has gone through a total make-over since then.

-- Bill Cogburn

With ancestral roots in Mexico, the Botello family has been part of King William for four generations. Their story spans all the many changes our neighborhood has faced over seven decades, and — to quote an old story — a river runs through it.

Or anyway, it used to. Josephine Botello Garcia (Josie to neighbors and friends) remembers the river well. In her childhood, her house on West Johnson Street — built for her parents, and still her home — backed up on a then half-wild San Antonio River. So did her grandmother’s house, just around the corner on South Main Avenue. Her father Marco A. Botello, Sr. (who was a charter member of the King William Association) had a boat, brightly painted red and green, that was his pride and joy. Josie, the oldest of six siblings, remembers the many times her father took the children out on the water.

The first Botello generation in our neighborhood was Josie’s grandmother Adelaida Botello, who had brought Marco and his brothers from Mexico during its Revolution. Her husband was not so fortunate. In the chaos of the times, he disappeared without trace while headed north to join them, leaving Adelaida to raise her four children as a single mom. Eventually, she bought a house in 1942 on what is now South Main Avenue (then called Frasch Street).

Marco built a successful career nearby in the photo reproduction department of Tobin Aerial Survey, which occupied the building on Camp Street that is now Camp Street Lofts. Josie remembers Tobin as a very good workplace, with an excellent cafeteria for employees and an onsite medical clinic for employees and their families. Josie herself worked there for a few years in the 1970s when Tobin was busy mapping out the groundwork for the Alaska Pipeline.

Marco and his family moved to a new house they built on Johnson Street in 1962, but the connection to the river would not last long. The old river channel originally made a sharp bend toward South Main and between the Pioneer Flour mill and South Alamo Street, finally returning to its current course at Blue Star. The bend was prone to flooding, and in the late 1960s the San Antonio River Authority and US Army Corps of Engineers straightened and widened the channel — slicing through the long, sloping lawns of the Steves Homestead and other King William Street mansions and putting a broad expanse of fill, eventually occupied by the headquarters of the River Authority, between the river and the Botellos and their neighbors. Houses that once had verdant riverbanks now fronted on parking lots.

Through it all, the family held on. Five of the six Botello siblings still live here (sister Adel now lives in the Medical Center area). The family had gradually acquired other houses in the neighborhood, initially as rental property. Josie, now in banking, moved back to her parents’ home after her father passed; Sylvia Botello lives in their grandmother’s house on Main. Brother Marco, Jr. and sister Mari and son Gerald all live on Johnson Street right across from Josie. Youngest brother Henry and son Marco have a house two blocks away on Arsenal St.

Last year Mari married Roger Martinez and — fittingly, given her family’s connection to the river, and with special permission — said their vows on the Johnson Street Bridge. The river may have moved, but the Botellos are still very much here.

-- Jack Kent

The King William Fair staff attended the annual Texas Festivals and Events Association (TFEA) Conference Awards Luncheon in McAllen on July 14 and was thrilled to win the following six Kaliff Zenith Marketing Awards for excellence in festival and event promotion in the $250,001 - $750,000 expense budget category!

 Gold in Multimedia Entries – Best Event Website

 Gold in Promotion Printed Entries – Best Commemorative Poster

 Silver in Promotion Printed Entries – Best Promotional Poster

 Silver in Festival & Event Critical Component Entries – Best Parade

 Bronze in Promotion Printed Entries – Best Event Program

 Bronze in Merchandise Entries – Best Pin or Button

It is an honor to be recognized alongside the cream of the crop of Texas’s festivals and events industry, such as Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival, Poteet Strawberry Festival, George West Storyfest, and fellow Fiesta® San Antonio events like NIOSA, Fiesta Oyster Bake, A Taste of New Orleans and Fiesta Flambeau Parade.

Kudos and thanks to the artists, designers, Parade participants, and Fair staff who worked together to ake our 2018 King William Fair an award-winning success!

 -- Syeira Budd: Fair Manager

Friends and Neighbors, what a great King William Fair we had! We broke all records for attendance, beverage sales and food sales. Our arts and crafts vendors were thrilled with their sales. The parade was the best I have ever seen! However, the biggest star of the day was the WEATHER! We could not have had a better day for our Fair. Our Fair Staff is the BEST! Thanks for all your hard work. A big Texas hug and thanks to all the volunteers - both corporate and neighbors - who helped make this a Fair to remember!

Annice Hill - 2018 King William Fair Chair

We are winding up the summer and the term of the current KWA Board. I want to thank the Board for their dedication of time, talent, insight, expertise and passion. It would not be King William without your efforts.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year of transition and great accomplishments. Here are a few of the highlights:

 Granted $76,553 in funds to support neighborhood organizations that make our community a better place.

 Recruited, interviewed and hired our new Executive Director, Tracy Moon, who has a strong business, financial and preservation background and who will lead us to the next level.

 Updated our financial systems and hired a new bookkeeper.

 Completed an audit of the organization (occurs every 3 years).

 Evaluated our operations to determine whether we were using best practices/standards.

 Re-established our connection with Lavaca Neighborhood Association and exchanged members. KWA and LNA will jointly host a National Night Out event at Brackenridge High School in October.

 The Cultural Arts Committee (CAC) commissioned seating and wayfinding signs within the neighborhood.

 Saw attendance at concerts in the park increase from around 100 to between 250-500.

 Transitioned the monthly newsletter to digital format; a paper copy to be provided for those that want one. The digital format will allow a coordinated communication campaign to members that includes emails, website, etc.

 The welcome wagon will be reinstituted and a new membership drive launched.

 Held the most successful King William Fair, garnering numerous state awards, achieving the highest green certification, having the highest attendance ever and the largest gross and net income on record.

I want to thank you, the members, the Board and the King William Association staff for making the last two years so fulfilling and gratifying. While I have truly enjoyed my time on the Board, working to improve our neighborhood, it is now time for a new president to lead us into the future. I am confident that the organization is in great hands moving forward.

As summer temperature continue to rise and it rains less, lawn shrubs may be showing signs of stress such as yellowing or loss of leaves. If you primarily water your garden with an automatic sprinkler system it is likely that deep-rooted plants are not getting enough water. Sprinklers are good for shallow-rooted plants such as grasses, but not shrubs. The situation can be easily corrected by letting a hose run near the base of the stressed plant for a few minutes every couple of weeks until cooler and wetter weather returns.

Want to conserve water usage and reduce your water bill? A recent article in the SAWS newsletter stated that a lawn irrigation system can use more water in ONE week than your entire family uses in a month. SAWS provides a free irrigation consultation that can result in changes to your water usage and may earn you a nice cash reward. Call 210-704-SAVE (7283) to schedule the free irrigation consultation.

Around Labor Day is a good time to trim roses by about one fourth so they will bush out and have more blooms in the fall. Evergreen shrubs that have become overgrown can also be trimmed as needed. New growth will “harden off” before freezing weather arrives.

Fertilize flowerbeds and lawns if it has been two or more months since the last application. It will strengthen root systems and protect them from freezing winter temperatures. Use an organic granular fertilizer.

To help in planning your garden there is a free list of xeric plants and local sources of organic gardening supplies in the box to the right of the King William Association office door.

What is a STOOP? It is a place between the private house and the public street. It is a place from which to observe the goings on up and down the street. Stoop sitting is the social commitment that binds a neighborhood.

The Flavor of the Neighborhood - Blue Star

by Dan Radcliff

Where the “cool” started. The idea of turning an old warehouse into art galleries, condos, restaurants and retail stores was unheard of in 1986, when the Blue Star Art Space first opened. Now, a development isn’t considered cool and trendy without mixed-use. The Blue Star remains a food and entertainment destination, with art galleries, handmade retail stores, and restaurants. In keeping with my motto, “Eat where you live,” you can walk down S. Alamo Street to Blue Star and have a nice night out at these places.

South Alamode Panini and Gelato Company. I live with a tough gelato critic, who once ate 1-euro scoops of nocciola gelato every day after Italian lessons in Florence. She says the nocciola gelato – that’s hazelnut ice cream for those of us who haven’t had Italian lessons – at South Alamode is just as good, but it costs more than 1euro. South Alamode small batch recipes sell out quickly, so don’t get too attached to one flavor – like nocciola and someone I know. They have panini on offer, too. The Havanese panini—it’s as if an Italian immigrant to Miami made a Cub an-press for their family back home: prosciutto and porchetta instead of the ham and salami, fontina cheese instead of the swiss. For a vegetarian, the Luigi is pretty darn good: grilled portabella mushroom, roasted red pepper, smoked goat cheese, with arugula dancing all around. Heck, even meat eaters would like this flavor-packed little number.

Wednesday-Sunday, noon-10pm, closed Monday and Tuesday. southalamode.com

Halcyon Southtown. Halcyon is a mythical, idyllic and peaceful time in the past. Halcyon coffee is mythical, and morning coffee on the deck overlooking the San Antonio River, watching the neighborhood wake up, is about as idyllic and peaceful as you can get. Halcyon has more than just coffee, Chicken and Waffles with a side of bacon will put you in idyllic, peaceful food coma. You could spend all day here, which many do on their computers.

Monday-Saturday, 7am-2am; Sunday, 8am-2am. halcyoncoffeebar.com

Stella Public House. Wood fired pizzas, salads, desserts and locally crafted beer is what you get at Stella. The Burrata Board with creamy hand-made mozzarella, marcono almonds, balsamic fig compote, and honeycomb comes with flatbread fresh from the wood fired oven – a pretty darn good appetizer. They have some creative pizza recipes, such as the Bee Sting, made of soppressata (aka dried salami), serrano chili, and honey.   

Monday-Wednesday, 11am-10pm, Thursday, 11am-11pm, Friday-Sunday, 10am-midnight. stellapublichouse.com

Sukeban. This sushi and champagne bar invites you to the world of manga, anime and samurai. Pairing sushi, nigiri, sashimi and tempura with champagne works for me, but if you’re a real traditionalist, they have sake. If you think sashimi is a foreign word for “bait,” try the chicken or rib-eye teriyaki: good flavor, filling, includes rice and salad. Bubbly champagne is totally refreshing on a hot day. The scallop nigiri, delicate slices of tender scallop, each topped with a single, thinly sliced sliver of lime, was equally refreshing.

Tuesday-Sunday,3pm-10pm; closed Monday. sukebansa.com

Blue Star Brewing Co. You can’t beat a burger and a beer from Blue Star. The Bacon Cheddar Burger, a side of fries, and a pale ale keeps me full and happy. The outdoor deck keeps the dog Qasper happy, although the waiter had to improvise on a dog bowl for water. There are other interesting-looking things on the menu, but really, does anyone get anything other than a burger and a beer?

Sunday-Monday, 11am-9pm, Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-11pm, Friday-Saturday, 11am-1:45am. bluestarbrewing.com

On Thursday, August 2, Mockingbird Handprints is hosting an art opening with a local artist, Shea Youngblood, who has several plein air paintings of the neighborhood. Walk on down, grab a bite to eat, go to a gallery, and you’ll see that the Blue Star has still “got the cool.”

Helen Geyer reflects on 71 years in King William

When Helen Ganter moved to 414 E Guenther in 1936 as a 12-year-old, she couldn’t have known that she was moving into one of the best neighborhoods anywhere – or that she would never leave that neighborhood for the rest of her life.  She attended Page Middle School at the time.  “It was the only school that our whole family attended – Bill, myself, and our three kids.”  She reminisces about life in the ’hood almost 100 years ago:  “Kids used to skate and run around at the corner of Guenther and Crofton,” she remembers.  “The windows would be opened in all the houses and you could hear the radios playing.  That was before TV and air-conditioning, you know.  I really never thought I’d see air-conditioning in houses!  I liked the heat then.  We didn’t have anything else so we all just tolerated it.” 

Hosting an exchange student allows you to do that one person at a time!

The AFS high school foreign exchange program is looking for homes for students for the upcoming school year.  A “home” can include traditional two-parent families with kids, couples without children, single parents and kids, or even single individuals without kids.  All it takes is a desire to be a parent to a high school student.  You provide a bed, food and a loving home.  You receive a world of experience in return.

For more information, visit the AFS website at www.afsusa.org or contact Jeannie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (210) 274-0554.

- Jeannie Frazier

 

The board met on June 20, 2018 to take action on three items. First, the board approved a donation to SAISD of 100 copies of The King William Area: A History and Guide to the Houses by Mary V. Burkholder and Jessie N.M. Simpson. Second, the Board approved the appointment of Mel Laracey and Gloria Arecchi to the board of the King William Foundation (formed in 2017 to address TABC issues). Finally, the board approved the termination of the 50th anniversary committee.

It is that time of year when we start thinking about next year and the board.  This year the nominating committee consists of Gloria Arecchi, Shawn Campbell, Gretchen Garceau-Kragh (chair), Margaret Leeds and Robin Raquet.  

The nominating committee will recruit KWA members to serve on the board. This year is a little different than in past years in that the committee will be recruiting only one new board member, in addition to nominating a new president.  This past year, we had three board members leave the board mid-term.  According to the bylaws, board members vote to fill vacancies and the newly-elected board member may serve three years in addition to the partial year they filled.  As a result, we have only one board member moving off the board this year.

“The nonprofit model isn’t broken.  But the system is evolving and we can be better.”  - Mohan Sivaloganathan 

 

As the KWA begins its annual budgeting process, I thought it might be helpful to understand the current thought in nonprofit management. 

Ellen Rosewall points out in her book Arts Management that many in the nonprofit world are driven by a passion for a cause and have developed the feeling that money is a dirty word.  After all, claiming the moral high ground may be more difficult if at the end of the day social warriors are reduced to covering expenses just like any common business.  Although there is much to admire in many nonprofit missions, as well as the passion of their advocates, such a snobbish disdain for business realities may ultimately impede success. 

GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies, conducted a survey of newsletter readers asking, “What is the greatest challenge your organization faces?”  Nearly half – 46% - responded: “Finding the money to accomplish our mission.”  There is no lack of vision or enthusiasm, but finding a way to keep the doors open remains a challenge.  The connection between money and mission becomes all too clear in the face of financial challenges.

The grants “go-to” is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain as government funding continues to dwindle.  Nonprofit organizations must adjust their funding mix and focus on private funding: individuals, foundations and corporations.  With so many organizations competing for support, including socially conscious, for-profit corporations, nonprofits need a more business-based marketing mindset. 

Nonprofits understand the need for marketing, but similar to attitudes regarding money, many associate marketing with manipulation and reducing standards to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  “Not-for-profit arts organizations are supposed to be shielded from the marketplace.  Our bottom line is mission, not money.”  Such attitudes indicate that it may be time for many nonprofits to come down from the rarified air of good intentions and engage in the often-gritty work of problem solving.  Marketing does not need to compromise mission integrity, but the ability to accomplish the mission requires marketing.  In order to be successful, nonprofits must understand marketing principles and how they can be applied to mission-driven organizations.  This may require attitude adjustments and stepping out of comfort zones.

Many of the more forward-thinking nonprofit organizations have already made adjustments and are embracing a more entrepreneurial approach.  Telfair Museums’ Board of Trustees cited the combination of entrepreneurial skills and arts knowledge as essential for their new Director/CEO.  Colleges and universities like the Savannah College of Art and Design are doing a better job of preparing students for the new realities of nonprofit leadership.  However, too many organizations with laudable missions stubbornly cling to old prejudices, often at the expense of the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the communities they serve.

- Tracy Moon

May was a good month for gardening events in San Antonio.  On May 18 the Botanical Garden had guided tours to promote cultivation of Texas native plants.  The tours were advertised in a recent SAWS newsletter included in their monthly billing.  Major renovations have been underway and a trip to the Garden is well worthwhile.  Some of the new areas are family-friendly and include activities for kids.  All types of plants are grown at the Garden, even those we would not want in a home garden.  For example a healthy clump of poison ivy was pointed out by the tour guide with the warning “Leaves of three, leave it be.” 

New in the Neighborhood

We moved to the neighborhood last fall after selling our empty nest.  In the old neighborhood we met many friends through our children at school; now it’s through our dog, “Casper-with-a-Q.”  Because we love walking the neighborhoods, our new motto is “Eat Where You Live.”  

This column won’t do four-star ratings of the tastiest, best service, best price.  You can read plenty of critics covering the food, art and culture scene.  What I will try to do is capture the flavor of the neighborhood, where you can walk your dog to a restaurant, meet friends, and linger over good food and conversation.

So, let’s get down to the food.  New in the neighborhood is the redevelopment of the site of the Hemisfair ’68 World’s Fair, and four new restaurants have opened there: Dough, Paleteria San Antonio, CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery and Con Safos Cantina.

As a service to the community, the Center for Formative Action and Reflection offers donation-based yoga classes every Tuesday night at San Antonio Mennonite Church.  Classes are from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  Enter through the green doors at 1443 S. St. Mary’s Street. 

The Coalition for Formative Action and Reflection provides holistic wellness activities to community workers such as pastors, teachers, non-profit employees, volunteers and social workers to avoid burnout so that they can keep doing important and essential work in our city. 

All are welcome at the yoga classes!  Please join us and bring a friend.

Thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered their time to make the 2018 King William Parade a stunning and educational success!  This year’s parade theme, “History is Alive & Well - 300 Years in San Antonio,” inspired the audience to take a closer look at our city’s diverse story.  The Parade committee was faced with a daunting task in selecting the final entries.  All in all, the 104 entries selected did not disappoint – participants were entertaining, hilarious and/or breathtaking.  Our neighborhood Parade judges certainly had their work cut out for them.  

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

“When we pause, allow a gap and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly, we slow down, look out, and there's the world.” - Pema Chödrön

We are happy to announce that “PAUSE” is now installed at the intersection of S. Alamo, Pereida and Adams Streets, next to the parking lot of the Liberty Bar and near the B-Cycle station.  This piece of public art is made of limestone blocks with blue steel lettering, and is intended to invite travelers to take a break, unwind....pause. 

The Cultural Art Committee of the King William Association commissioned local artist Jennifer Khoshbin to create a seating area for the small green space.  Originally from Philadelphia, Jennifer has lived in San Antonio for about 14 years.  Her work has been exhibited throughout the country and in San Antonio at Flight, the Southwest School of Art and 1906 Gallery; she has a permanent installation at Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden. "My goal was to design a space that maximizes restful, inviting opportunities to sit for a few minutes or for a long conversation," Jennifer says. "The site is well suited for a quiet, pocket-sized sitting area, encouraging ways to support community connections." 

"PAUSE" is a gift to the neighborhood. Many thanks to Liberty Bar for its collaboration on this project. We hope you will enjoy it and use it. We have more public art benches planned, so be on the lookout!

- Nora Peterson