(July 13, 2012) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Architecture has been selected to receive a $50,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to lead a community engagement process focused on the design development of a public art transit stop near the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. UTSA will partner with The City of San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs and VIA Metropolitan Transit to shepherd the project, which will demonstrate the opportunity to integrate public art, public transit and a public cultural arts facility.
Through the Our Town grant program, the NEA supports partnerships of not-for-profit organizations and local government entities, to uphold the goals of creative, transformational place-making projects that create community identity and a sense of place, with the arts at their core.
In his letter of support for the specific grant application from the city, Mayor Julián Castro noted the project’s ability to incorporate the goals of several SA2020 vision areas and reinforce the collaborative spirit of its focus on downtown development.
"This is great news," Castro said. "It is collaborative projects like this that bring about creative growth in our city. The Our Town grant will also enable the Office of Cultural Affairs to further its efforts to bring art and culture to public spaces."
Beginning this fall, the UTSA College of Architecture, the City's Office of Cultural Affairs and VIA’s Planning/Urban Design office will engage the San Antonio community in a series of public discussions to develop design concepts for a new public art transit stop near the Tobin Center. This site will be an important transit connection to the Center which is located in the north portion of the San Antonio River Walk, a culturally and historically significant feature of the city. Prominent local and national artists, architects and designers will be invited to develop momentum for the design process and provide public art and design expertise. UTSA students will participate throughout the design phase by helping to facilitate the public engagement process. Students also will assist in the development of two- and three-dimensional design renderings and models, among other projects.
"We are honored to receive this grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that gives us the opportunity to involve local residents, artists and other key stakeholders in the ongoing conversation of public space design and its ability to connect residents and visitors to our cultural arts venues," said Taeg Nishimoto, professor, associate dean for research, outreach and graduate studies in the UTSA College of Architecture and project director for the grant.
The redevelopment of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will serve as a gateway to the Museum Reach of the River Walk extension. When it opens in fall 2014, the center will draw musicians, actors and artists from around the world in addition to serving as the home of a number of resident companies.
"This grant offers the opportunity to design a public art focused transit stop and aligns with our commitment to improve our downtown transit facilities and serve important cultural destinations," said Keith Parker, president and CEO of VIA Metropolitan Transit.
"This NEA grant for a new public art transit stop is a wonderful example of the role the Tobin center is already playing in downtown redevelopment,” said Bruce Bugg, chairman of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation, which will own and operate the Tobin center. "The Tobin and its impact will transform the downtown landscape and will continue to stimulate new public investments that will enhance the arts-and-culture atmosphere in this important part of downtown."
UTSA is one of 80 recipients selected from a pool of 317 applicants selected for an Our Town grant. The NEA awarded grants totaling $4.95 million to recipients in 44 states and the District of Columbia. For a complete list of projects, visit the NEA website.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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