La Prensa San Antonio
San Antonio.- The intent of our city's art leaders, the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) and the Cultural Arts Board (CAB), to defund the Museo Alameda is alarming and warrants in-depth analysis. The recommendation, which could devastate one of the few Latino-dedicated visual arts museums in our nation, threatens the very cultural fabric of our city. Click headline for the rest of the story.
La Prensa Staff Editorial
Most who live and visit downtown San Antonio appreciate the significance of the arts in urban life and respect the great value it affords the city. Art institutions are often the most visually important components of a city and the first stop for visiting tourists. The economic impact of the arts on the surrounding community can be profound - if managed correctly and with vision and leadership.
Perhaps it is time to question the sensibility of a group process, subjective by format, where our city's own Cultural Affairs Office, rather than providing support and a helping hand to arts organizations in crisis, particularly an institution with the great potential and a mandate to deliver and showcase the city's Hispanic heritage, loosely wields such power to detrimentally damage the reputation and ability of such organizations to survive and one day prosper.
In effect, OCA and CAB are selecting winners and losers in a process that by design has the power to inflict the maximum amount of financial hardship possible.
Even with the city council's decision to find emergency funding for the Museo Alameda, irreparable damage to a year's worth of hard recovery work may have been done. Certainly it damages the brand and the supporters of that brand (Smithsonian, Ford, etc.).
The message sent by OCA and CAB was clear - we don't believe in or support this institution's mission or its leadership.
Throughout 2010, La Prensa wrote about and documented how the Alameda's bi-national team of respected scholars worked on a shoestring budget, and in record time, staged an internationally acclaimed fine art and history-based exhibition to celebrate the centennial of the Mexican revolution.
Titled "Revolution & Renaissance, Mexico and San Antonio, 1910-2010," the Museo Alameda's exhibition was and continues to be very well received by art critics, scholars and the public at large. The program has been recognized as one of the finest exhibitions in the world to be staged outside of Mexico.
The exhibit is rooted in the history of San Antonio as well, and traces a multitude of connections between San Antonio and Mexico, shedding light on striking parallels between San Antonio and Mexico and the great early influences of Hispanic heritage on this city.
The Mexican Revolution, with more than a million casualties, is known as one of the great tragedies in the history of the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of refugees were forced to take safety across the U.S. border and many came to San Antonio. Ultimately, San Antonio became their new home as many who lost everything never returned to their beloved homeland.
The resulting exodus profoundly changed San Antonio and forever changed the United States. The revolution's refugees, including intellectuals, artists and merchants, created a paradigm shift with a reach that is still being revealed.
For example, by 2030, both California and Texas will probably be more than 50 percent Hispanic (mostly of Mexican origin). The combined GDP of just these two states will account for an estimated 20 percent of the entire U.S. Market, and for an unprecedented growth of wealth and prosperity in the Latino community.
Pioneer institutions catering to Latinos, or simply sharing the Hispanic heritage that exists across the country, will soon commence to experience a new golden age of rising support.
If San Antonio prides itself as "The New Face of the American Dream", why are our cityleaders not asking why many of the cultural amenities that serve the souls of our diverse communities are underfunded, bankrupt or shuttered?