MAY 27, 2021 — UTSA alumnus Walter Downing ’86 and his wife, Sharon Downing, recently made a significant gift to the McNay Art Museum that directly benefits the UTSA community. Through the gift, UTSA students, faculty and staff can now enjoy unlimited free general admission to the museum, plus 50% off annual memberships. Membership benefits include retail discounts, exclusive virtual content, tours with curators, conversations with artists and more.
“Sharon and I decided to support the McNay and UTSA initiative because we love the museum and saw this as an opportunity to share it with others,” Walter Downing said. “We also remember that in our early years as students and then as a young married couple, we did not have a lot of discretionary money to spend on things like museum entry fees. We appreciate those who helped us get to where we are and think the best way to show our appreciation is by doing the same for others.”
From paintings and sculptures to events and innovative exhibitions, the McNay offers a unique art museum experience filled with moments of surprise, inspiration, and beauty throughout a large 25-acre campus.
Throughout history, the visual arts have played a significant role in the lives of all people, resulting in new perspectives of the world and inspiration in daily life. Engaging with art has been scientifically shown to boost critical thinking, increase tolerance and empathy, and improve test scores and academic performance.
Understanding the importance of the arts in higher education, UTSA students, faculty and staff have engaged with the McNay Art Museum for over three decades. In 1991, McNay museum docent Liz Chiego invited a professor to aid in docent training, and in 1994 and 1995 the McNay provided a lecture series for UTSA students. The museum also offers internships exclusively to students at the university.
UTSA has also worked closely with the McNay on many of its exhibitions, including Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today which showcased the history of LGBTQ+ communities in San Antonio and South Texas. UTSA Special Collections sustains the university’s teaching, research, and outreach mission by acquiring, preserving and digitizing primary resources with significance to the region. This tandem exhibition features artwork by Susan Riley and is organized by Melissa Gohlke, UTSA Libraries assistant archivist, and Katie Rojas, manuscripts archivist for UTSA Libraries.
In 2018, the McNay also partnered with UTSA Libraries Special Collections to present a unique exhibition in celebration of the 50th anniversary of HemisFair ’68 and of San Antonio’s Tricentennial. The exhibition highlighted artists and designers who contributed to the fair. HemisFair ’68: San Antonio’s World’s Fair featured small selections of artwork, architectural drawings, conceptual site plans, costume and graphic designs, ephemera, souvenirs and audiovisual materials, including film and sound recordings that documented the early planning for HemisFair ’68.
On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2018, Los Angeles–based artist, activist, and educator Judy Baca spoke about her work and commitment to equity for all people in a presentation entitled Resistance and Affirmation. A natural leader, Baca has claimed space for women of color in both the feminist movement and the Chicano art movement since the 1970s. A collaboration of the McNay and UTSA, this lecture was part of the Louis A. and Frances B. Wagner Lecture Series and the Mellon Undergraduate Humanities Pathways Program.
Most recently, Jackie Cuevas, associate professor of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality studies at UTSA and director of the Women’s Studies Institute, and staff member Raitza Garcia sat on the Limitless! Five Women Reshape Contemporary Art exhibition community committee. The McNay’s head of education Kate Carey and her colleague Lauren Thompson recently gave a presentation on the exhibition to UTSA’s modern art history classes led by professors Teresa Eckmann and Edith Toth. Additionally, the McNay’s curator of modern art and prints and drawings Lyle Williams conducted a virtual presentation for UTSA art students. Notably, UTSA students and graduates make up about 20% of the McNay Art Museum's staff.
Beyond the educational benefits, this partnership provides students, faculty and staff an opportunity to participate in entertaining activities and further engage with members of the San Antonio community.
The Dreamer and Undocumented student conversation consists of a panel discussion that will center in the immigrant experience while attending college and as a new professional. Our panelist will discuss their experiences as immigrants from different Latin American countries, and as current or former members of the undocumented community.Virtual Event
Come learn more about the Whataburger Resource Room and what you can do to fight food insecurity on our campus!Student Union, Paseo Principal Staircase, Main Campus
Join us for the grand opening of our new office space! There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at Noon with an open house at HSU 2.206, and student organization tabling on the Paseo. We will have DJ Loko along with snacks, give aways, and activities.H-E-B Student Union, 2.206, Main Campus
This year we will have a NNO kickoff party at the Downtown Campus - Frio Building breezeway. The event will be on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. We will have snow cones, music, and door prizes! The is a free event for all our DTC community. The NNO main event will be held at Main campus on October 5.Frio Breezeway, Downtown Campus
A virtual conversation about how we can take action to improve our wellbeing to prevent future mental health burn out.Virtual Event
No matter your first language, Coffee & Conversation can help you expand your horizons. We invite all UTSA students to come spend your lunch hour with Coffee & Conversation, where international and domestic students gather and build inter-cultural connections.Anaqua Room, 2.03.08, Student Union, Main Campus
For Hispanic Heritage Month this year we will be reading two books, starting in September with "I, Rigoberta Menchú", an autobiography. The October book will be "Cemetery Boys" by Aiden Thomas. Students who join the RJBC are eligible to receive the book free.Virtual Event
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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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.