30 Years Familia!
San Anto Cultural Arts Celebrates their 30th Anniversary
2120 El Paso St. San Antonio, TX
San Anto Cultural Arts (SACA) is celebrating 30 years since its founding in August 1993 by community youth and arts advocates Manuel “Manny” Castillo, Juan Miguel Ramos and Cruz Ortiz, as a project under Inner City Development. The first mural completion and blessing took place the following year, starting a loved and respected tradition. SACA officially became an independent nonprofit in 1997, with its mission to foster human and community development through
“Manny had a vision for the community, he was the motivator, he was the “idea” guy, he was the one showing people that this was a worthy cause..” Juan Miguel Ramos
Ramos, co-founder of San Anto Cultural Arts, began his artistic background when he was 8 years old taking art classes at Southwest School of Art with Dr. Dr. Jacqui Von Honts, where he learned about artistic development, process and mural history. In college he began his seven week tour with the band called Glorium, alongside the band El Santo, where he had met Manuel “Manny” Castillo, El Santo’s drummer. Manny started talking about his volunteer work at San Antonio’s Inner City Development and shared some of his visions. That’s when Ramos spoke up, telling him of his art background and mural knowledge, starting a conversation about the future. Cruz Ortiz was also a volunteer at Inner City and joined the process with the first mural. Manny and Ramos would do fundraisers at the local bar, Tacoland, performing to raise money for mural projects. This allowed them to accomplish the first El Placazo Newspaper print and mural, both being created and debuting around the same time in 1993-1994! It was “...all under the umbrella of Inner CIty”. The plan was always to involve and include the community to have input but also participate in the painting and process so they could take ownership and invite them to the blessing and recognition of the community murals.
Current Executive Director Ben Tremillo adds, “No other arts organization in San Antonio incorporates community input the way San Anto does, utilizing the voices of community members, young and old, in our murals, newspaper, and art workshops, allowing community members to see themselves in positive imagery and words.”
SACA has now created over 62 murals, representing iconic storytelling through the neighborhoods, where thousands of youth learn skills in community outreach, design, drawing and painting. Participants have worked alongside professional artists to learn problem solving, project completion thus building confidence throughout the process. Along with mural projects, more than 233 issues of El Placazo have been published. El Placazo Newspaper Program provides youth a space to learn in writing, photography and journalism skills that contribute to their academic achievement, critical thinking and responsibility towards their educational and personal growth.
We dedicate ourselves in providing free family-friendly events for our community to join and to have some fun with art, music, vendors, raffles, dance and more! Our hope is that our event brings community members together to meet with each other, share in the arts, create opportunities, provide a safe space for creative freedom and growth, to share, cultivate and showcase the talent of San Antonio and Westside residents and make lasting memories and to have some fun!
“San Anto Cultural Arts offered me the opportunity to be the Lead Muralist for “Familia y Cultura es Vida” mural at the early age of 18 in 2010. I was given this incredible opportunity that did in fact shape my artistic future in a positive way. It gave me a second home, a safe place to be completely myself. I will forever be grateful for what SACA has provided me and will keep providing for future generations.” shared Communications Manager, Andrea V. Rivas.
San Antonio Cultural Arts organizes various events like an Oldies Dance, the Chancla Fest Block Party, SACA Skate Slam, Summer Slay, Dia de Los Muertos Barrio procession, Huevos Rancheros Fundraising Gala, mural community meetings, mural blessings, mural tours and After School Youth Studio programming, SACA Alumni Events, movie nights and more!
For our future we hope to grow and bring more youth and families into our free, safe, welcoming environment where they can learn various essential skills for their future and expand into technology friendly opportunities for our community.
San Anto Cultural Arts - San Antonio’s Community Arts Center - Celebrating 30 Years of Community Art
San Anto Cultural Arts is a San Antonio, TX nonprofit founded in 1993 with the mission to foster human and community development through community-based arts. A focus on art through community engagement led to the creation of our community-based arts programs: the Community Mural Program, the El Placazo Community Newspaper, and the After School Arts Program. These dynamic programs engage residents and foster the talents of youth by educating them on the history and techniques of public art while documenting and preserving the rich history and heritage of San Antonio's Westside. For more information, visit sananto.org and follow @sanantoculturalarts on social media.