(Jan. 2, 2018) -- Jo Ann Andera, a staff member at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has been named a San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame class of 2018 inductee. Andera will be recognized for her nearly 50 years of work at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) and for 37 years of service as director of the Texas Folklife Festival.
Andera began her work at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures shortly after the HemisFair 1968 celebration, joining the staff as a bilingual tour guide in the early 1970s. She developed her craft under Texas Folklife Festival founder O.T. Baker and its second director, Claudia Ball. She took over the role as the festival’s director in 1980.
Since that time, the Texas Folklife Festival has grown to some 250 participating groups and individuals representing 60 cultures. Each year, more than 60 skilled artisans preserve classic trades such as leatherwork and blacksmithing, a menu of more than 100 authentic ethnic dishes is assembled, programming is prepared for the festival’s multiple stages and nearly 40,000 visitors are welcomed.
“Jo Ann Andera has been one of our community’s strongest advocates for recognizing and honoring diversity and for preserving our heritage,” said Angelica Docog, executive director of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures. “Through the Texas Folklife Festival, Jo Ann has introduced our community to dozens of cultural groups that call Texas home and has helped skilled artisans pass down the skills that helped our ancestors settle and succeed in Texas.”
“This is such a special year and such a special time to receive this honor,” said Andera. “The Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, and our city will observe its Tricentennial. Our community has been enriched by Guamanians, Nigerians, Sikhs, Romanians and dozens of other cultures that have made San Antonio home these last 300 years.”
The San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame was established in 1984 to honor local women leaders who have contributed significantly to the betterment of Bexar County and adjacent counties. Andera was nominated under the Public Service category. The 2018 induction ceremony will be held at a gala event on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the Omni Colonnade in San Antonio.
Learn more about the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.
Learn more about the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures.
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