KWA Newsletter Articles

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.” 

National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) is back at Brack!  This is our seventh year to have NJTL at Brackenridge High School.  For those of you not familiar with this program, this is a FREE program for all kids to take tennis lessons and have fun at a camp.  We take ages 6-15 (if they are younger, please talk to me because I usually take them), and in the past most of my campers have been from Bonham and other SAISD schools. There is a $10.00 donation requested, but it is voluntary.  No child is turned away!  

I volunteer my services every year and I am not compensated from this program in any way.  In past years we have had many faculty, staff, SAISD employees from other campuses and SAISD police officers bring their kids to participate in this camp.

Tennis camp starts June 11 and we are here Monday – Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Afterwards we normally take kids to the cafeteria for the free lunch program that is offered at Brack.  We will not have the camp during the Fourth of July week, and we will end the summer on Wednesday, July 25.  Participants must sign up online at before kids start the camp.  

I love having all these youngsters learning how to play tennis, so the more the merrier!!  Feel free to send this info to anyone you think will enjoy having their kids in a free daytime summer tennis camp. 

- Coach Victoria Shaheen, Head Boys & Girls Tennis, Brackenridge High School


Blue Star Contemporary is pleased to present two public programs in July.  The first, Regarding the Discarded, is a workshop led by From Underfoot: Breaking Through Surface and Ground exhibiting artist Carrie Dickason, to be held on Saturday, July 7 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Registration is required to participate in this workshop (go to  

The San Antonio Art League & Museum will host Inspired Abstractions, an all-level painting workshop taught by Marguerite Moreau McCarthy, at our newly-refurbished Semmes Studio. 

This three-day class will show students how to combine ideas, techniques and styles from at least two artists they admire, producing original abstract works on canvas. 

Marguerite Moreau McCarthy is a painter, printmaker, graphic designer, and art educator.  Her works can be found in personal and corporate collections throughout the United States. She is equally accomplished as a printmaker in a variety of media including serigraphy, intaglio, relief and monoprint techniques.  McCarthy is a versatile collage artist, incorporating surrealist visions in her multimedia, sometimes sculptural, collage pieces. 

Classes are July 10-12, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and limited to 8 participants.  Tuition is $165 per student.  For details, registration and materials list, please visit - “Workshops.”

The Semmes Studio is an accessible, multi-use space on the grounds of the San Antonio Art League and Museum made possible by a grant from Pat and Tom Semmes and the Semmes Foundation. 

- Lyn Belisle, SAALM President 


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 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 Cultural Arts Committee of the King William Association announces the 2018 Concert Season:

  • August 12 – The Legendary West Side Horns – Latin Jazz
    The Friendly Spot
  • September 9 – Henry Brun Sextet – Latin Jazz 
    Upper Mill Park
  • October 21 – Youth Orchestra of San Antonio – Classical/Pops - 110 Musicians! 
    King William Park
  • November 4 – Volcán 13-piece Latin Indie Orchestra
    King William Park

All concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 5:30 p.m. and are FREE! Mark your calendars!  Bring your friends and neighbors!  We hope to see you there.  

 - Ethel Pedraza

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.

Located just two miles from downtown along the banks of the San Antonio River, the new $74.5 million EPIcenter will transform the historic Mission Road Power Plant into a new energy innovation center – a cradle for invention, a nucleus of activity, a catalyst for future development and a hub for education and community engagement. 

“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

C. A. Stieren emigrated from Germany in 1860, first settling in New Braunfels where he met and married Hedwig Remer.  Soon, the couple moved to Gonzales where they opened a mercantile store.  By the time they moved to San Antonio in 1890, the family had grown to include seven children.

In San Antonio, Stieren joined Axel and Paul Meerscheidt in the real estate business.  He built the house at 503 E. Guenther in 1891 where his family lived until 1902.  The house has had several owners through the years, but one that many neighbors will still remember are Craig and Lola Austin who owned the house from 1988 to 2004.  They were famous for hosting great parties and participating in neighborhood activities. 

This year’s King William Fair was a great success! The weather was beautiful, the parade was fabulous, and we had a record number of attendees!  The fair vendors were elated by the response and turnout.  I want to thank Syeira Budd, the King William Fair staff, and all the volunteers whose hard work and dedication make the Fair so successful.  In the coming weeks we will have the final numbers to report.

The board met on May 17, 2018 to review various committee and financial reports.  There were no action items and no citizens to be heard.  Our guest from the Lavaca Neighborhood Association was Selsa Adham Gonzalez.

Tracy Moon provided the board with an overview of strategic planning.  In 2014, the board worked with a facilitator to develop a two-year strategic plan.  It is time to revise the plan.

Jacob Floyd, a planning coordinator with the City, introduced a draft of the SA Tomorrow Land Use Category Definitions, which would amend chapter 35 of the Unified Development Code.  The King William neighborhood is part of the Downtown Regional Center Plan, which in turn is part of the City’s comprehensive plan called “SA Tomorrow.” SA Tomorrow is broken down into 13 employment areas.  

We anticipate that Mr. Floyd will present an informational meeting and feedback session at a future general membership meeting.  His work is expected to become part of a new neighborhood plan.  More information can be found at

This column is not intended to replace the official minutes

- Rose Kanusky