Blue Star Contemporary is delighted to share with our neighbors in King William the exciting news that we were recently awarded $87,522 from the Texas Commission on the Arts’ Cultural District Project grant program. This special initiative, separate from its programmatic grants, specifically supports the growth of cultural tourists to the state’s cultural districts. As an institution within the King William Cultural Arts District, Blue Star Contemporary was eligible to apply.

Last year, Blue Star’s board and staff convened to develop our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, an ambitious guide that includes modernizing and making accessible our facilities and infrastructure, consistent branding as Blue Star Contemporary, and serving as a leader in San Antonio’s visual arts community with global recognition.

As you may have noticed, we are in the middle of capital renovations—

Read more: Texas Commission on the Arts Grants Awarded- Blue Star Contemporary

In September 2011 the Texas Commission on theArts voted for a Cultural Arts District to be established in King William under the auspices of the King William Association, one of 29 in the state. The purpose of Cultural Arts Districts is to help stimulate economic development and revitalize communities. According to the TCA, these districts “can become focal points for generating businesses, attracting tourists, stimulating development and fostering civic pride.”

Success factors for cultural districts include:

  • • Clear signage in place so visitors and the community can recognize boundaries.
  • • User-friendly website with comprehensive information about the CAD available for the community and visitors.
  • • Strong amenities such as restaurants, lodging, recreation that bolster the community.

The King William Cultural Arts District (KWCAD) extends from Al Rendon’s photography studio and Jenny Garcia’s glassmaking studio on S. Alamo down to SAY Si. It also goes to west City Street, encompassing Villa Finale and the Steves Homestead.

After the KWCAD was designated by the TCA, ...

Read more: Texas Commission on the Arts Grants Awarded- King William Cultural Arts District

I wasn’t aware what a spectacle Halloween was in the King William Historic District was until I moved in. The first Halloween I spent in my house I was visited by more than 600 goblins of every conceivable shape and size, and ranging in age from infants (in costume) to slightly inebriated adults, toward the end of what turned out to be a very long evening. In subsequent years...

Read more: City Lights- October 2016

If you subscribe to Nextdoor King William you are well aware of the attachment this neighborhood has with dogs. Dogs come in all sizes, shapes, and even colors. The various breeds of dogs were the direct result of human selection. Dogs became status symbols for royalty and prized by hunters and herders. There are about 340 recognized breeds of dogs today and an infinite variety of mixes.

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) have been part of our human history for at least 30,000-40,000 years, and possibly much longer, and were the first domesticated animals, before sheep, goats and cattle. Recent DNA studies show dogs are descended from the East Asia gray wolf, but the archaeological record is vague as to when and where that event happened in human history. Some scholars say domestication occurred in multiple areas of the Old World, in Eastern Eurasia and Western Eurasia.

Dogs accompanied the first Native American groups that entered the New World about 14,000 years ago, and spread throughout the North and South America following their human companions. Dogs contributed to human survival by

Read more: The Archaeology of Dogs

Amanda Neale Strickland

As a lifelong San Antonio resident, I was raised in Castle Hills, but my parents often took my brother and me to the Beethoven, the Guenther House and on strolls to admire the stately mansions of King William Street. My appreciation for the unique charms of King William led me to move here ten years ago after landing a job as an assistant D.A.

I hope that by being on the Board I can get to know the people in our wonderful community, and by doing so, learn what we can all do together to make it an even stronger and more vibrant place to live. If there are opportunities to make our neighborhood safer, I would like to work with the Board to explore how that can be achieved. I would also like to get more people interested in participating in volunteer activities that could benefit our neighborhood.

Erich Richard Landry

I visited King William and my grandparents’ home on Presa as a child. It was in the Yturri family for generations. We moved back to King William in 2014 with our daughter, and enjoy our friendly neighbors and the river in all seasons. It provides a beautiful backdrop for my photography business. I enjoyed serving on the homeowner’s association of my last neighborhood, and hope to contribute to preserving the unique character of King William. Trained in anthropology, my interests include travel, historical archaeology, urban gardening and photography.

Gretchen Garceau-Kragh

Gretchen and her husband John moved to King William in 2002. John was on active duty at Fort Sam at the time and when their 6 month wait for “post” housing turned into a 24 month wait, they decided to buy a home instead of living on Fort Sam. They were attracted to King William because of the uniqueness of the neighborhood, its diversity and walkability. This is Gretchen’s second time on the KW board and plans to work with other board members on issues such as safety, transportation and infrastructure.

Since the first year of the KWA Grants Program in 2000, a total of $709,874 has been granted to organizations in the King William Area of San Antonio. Project have included art, music and theatre programs, at-risk student initiatives, technology upgrades, meaningful capital improvements, health and safety corrective measures, and literacy projects.

Using the proceeds from the Fair and in keeping with our mission, $72,238 was awarded to 10 highly qualified organizations at the September General Membership Meeting. Each year in the spring we ask for grant applications, which are due in late June. The applicants face tough competition and a very comprehensive evaluation.

This year a team of seven evaluators worked separately measuring each submission against a standard set of criteria. Next, the results were validated, and then the results delivered in rank order to the KWA Board of Directors for their consideration and approval. 

Here are our 2016-17 recipients. Congratulations to all! 

Read more: KWA Grants Awarded

Saturday, December 3,   11 am to 5 pm

Day of tour tickets may be purchased at 202 King William Street for $20

Pre-Sale Tickets may be purchased Online for $15 

 Tour includes: Oge House, Noble Inns-209 Washington; 

112 King William; SA Art League and Museum- 130 King William; 202 King William; 203 King William;

208 King William; and Villa Finale Museum and Gardens- 401 King William

 Tickets purchased online are “will call" and can be picked up on SE corner of King William Park day of tour. No Refunds.

 

 

September is only technically the beginning of fall in Texas, since rain and temperatures will not catch up with the calendar until much closer to Halloween than to Labor Day. From my back porch the newly mowed lawn looks more like a field of straw. I’d half expected to see the three figures from Millet’s painting “The Gleaners” picking their way across the tawny stubble looking for left-behind grain.

Read more: City Lights: September 2016

Located on the western edge of our neighborhood, at the corner of W. Guenther and S. Flores Streets, is 1010 South Flores, a mixed-used development.  A variety of businesses are located on the first floor with apartments occupying the remaining two stories. 

The first business to move in was HerStory: Style Bar & Boutique in July 2014.  Owner and San Antonio native Kenyada Bell knew this was an “up and coming area” when she was scouting for a new location.  She describes her clothes as contemporary and trendy. 

Read more: New Neighborhood Businesses

The disappearance of plastic pails and shovels, rubber sandals and sunscreen from store shelves, and their replacement with pencils, notebooks, rulers and calculators signals the end of summer and the return to school for students and their teachers.

This year there may be different kinds of school supplies that have to be purchased elsewhere – ammunition.  Around the world it’s been an exceptionally violent summer, by any measure.  It’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish between active war zones and ordinary city streets.

When I meet my new graduate students, I will wonder if any of them will be carrying guns.  It is perfectly legal for them to do this, starting with the first day of August.  I hope that the people who wrote this legislation were ignorant of the meaning of the date – no one could be that cruel or that insensitive to have picked that day, above all others, for this law to take effect.

Read more: City Lights: August 2016

Roofless Solar has come to San Antonio and is now available to every CPS Energy customer in the area.  CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned utility, in partnership with Clean Energy Collective, is providing a greener way to buy power.  Community solar is ideal for all CPS customers, including renters, those with rooftops not suitable for rooftop solar and anyone who wants to harness the sun’s energy but doesn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars for an on-site system.

Read more: Roofless Solar Now Available

We had another great July 4th Regatta in King William.  Started in 1983, the Regatta is organized by the near-mythical King William Yacht Club for the happy purpose of enjoying our neighbors and our neighborhood by cruising our portion of the San Antonio River.  A great crowd showed up this year, some to power-paddle in the canoe and kayak races, others to show off their stars-and-stripes style in our leisure class, and the rest of us for the thrill of spectating. 

Read more: KW Yacht Club: In a Regatta de Vida, Baby

On June 6, VIA launched a new branded service called VIVA.  The three lines that comprise the VIVA service include:

  • VIVA Culture – direct connections to Southtown, King William, Downtown, Pearl and Broadway
  • VIVA Missions – direct connections between the Alamo and the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site
  • VIVA Centro – connections between Centro Plaza and St. Paul Square

VIVA replaces the blue trolley line. For more information visit viainfo.net/BusService/VivaMain.aspx.

The City of San Antonio has started a Sidewalk Cost Sharing Program.  Since the KWA is in a non-CDBG area, the city will pay for 50% of the cost to replace sidewalks.  The City’s program can be combined with the KWA’s Sidewalk Program.  The KWA will pay $25 per linear foot to help King William residents to repair their sidewalks.

Read more: Sidewalk Repair Programs Available to KW Residents

Hope, Help, Independence

Visual impairment is an ever-increasing health issue and the leading reason for loss of independent living among older Americans.  Where can they turn for non-medical help?  What can they do to maintain independence?  How can they stay connected with the community?  The Low Vision Resource Center (LVRC), which just celebrated its 19th anniversary, can help.  The LVRC offers two major programs for visually impaired people in the San Antonio area: the San Antonio Low Vision Club and Owl Radio.

Read more: Beyond Vision Loss

As directed by the KWA Board in 2014, the KWA Finance Committee began the task of developing a Statement of Investment Objectives, Policies and Management Guidelines (the “Statement”).  The Statement was carefully crafted by the Finance Committee Investment Subcommittee over two years.  The Subcommittee deliberately built a schedule to provide a generous amount of time to gather input, review, adapt and deliver the Statement to the Board for their consideration.  The Board approved the Statement at the May 2015 meeting.  

Read more: KWA Investments

In July 2011 the Texas Commission on the Arts designated our area the King William Cultural Arts District.  The mission is to improve the quality of life by promoting educational, cultural and recreational pursuits and activities. In addition to the many museums and galleries in the area we have an extraordinary number of outstanding professional artists.  The KW Cultural Arts Committee would like to feature some of them from time to time in the newsletter. 

Read more: King William Cultural Arts District Member Spotlight: Al Rendon

At the eclectic heart of a diverse and creative city, King William has long seemed to have more than its share of wordsmiths. But every writer needs a publisher to get those words out into the world. Fortunately, King William has that too. From his home on East Guenther Street, which he and librarian and writer Mary Guerrero Milligan have shared since 1979, Bryce Milligan carries on the art and business of publication as owner of a small, brave, and essential San Antonio imprint, Wings Press.

Read more: The Art of Publishing: Wings Press at 40

June in South Texas means rain, tapering off toward the end of the month, graduation parties, and weddings.  I experienced all three phenomena in May.  One of my best graduate students has completed his Masters of Architecture and will be joining our firm.  He’s been working part time with us since he enrolled in our Master’s program and has a well-earned reputation for hard work, good humor, and an old fashioned southern gentleman’s sense of courtesy.  He came our way from near New Orleans.  If he was seeking lower humidity he was sadly mistaken, at least this year.

Read more: City Lights: June 2016