Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ITC seeks survey input, receives feedback from Urban Land Institute

ITC seeks survey input, receives feedback from Urban Land Institute

FEBRUARY 15, 2022 — The ITC Centennial 2068 steering committee will convene this month to consider recommendations for envisioning the next 50 years of the Institute of Texan Cultures and its museum, the only resources in Texas devoted entirely to the state’s rich, diverse cultural history.

The University of Texas at San Antonio announced ITC Centennial 2068 in 2021 and kicked off the community stakeholder visioning process last June with the appointment of a steering committee and three task forces focused on different aspects of the ITC: Museum of the Future; Community Engagement and Sustaining Support; and Facility and Land Stewardship. This process will ultimately make recommendations regarding museum programming, community outreach and considerations relative to the museum site and facility.

“ITC Centennial 2068 is a community-driven process, and we are grateful for the community’s continued input.”

“We are excited to reach this stage in the stakeholder visioning process, which will deepen and broaden the institute’s engagement as an exemplary cultural heritage institution that continues to define for future generations what it means to be a Texan,” said Sabrina Avila, vice chair of the ITC Advisory Council and co-chair of the ITC Centennial 2068 steering committee.

The steering committee will begin to review recommendations developed by the three task forces, which were published earlier this month, to develop feasible scenarios for the future of the ITC. Community members also are invited to review these recommendations and provide feedback through Thursday, February 17.

The task force recommendations were informed by a community survey conducted in fall 2021 and a series of expert panels, as well as reports commissioned from national museum experts. Notable among those expert resources is the report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel, a group of national experts that were engaged to examine placemaking and stewardship of the museum’s Hemisfair site.

ULI is a nonprofit education and research organization that fosters and encourages high standards of land use planning and development. It is recognized as one of North America's most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development. 

The panel, which met in June, included ULI members selected from across the country with expertise relevant to placemaking to enhance and sustain a thriving museum facility and its Hemisfair site; all panel members donate their time, effort and expertise to the Advisory Services program as a personal contribution to further the Institute's work and objectives. As part of their review, the panel met with nearly 50 community stakeholders across San Antonio, including ITC and university staff, who shared their perspectives, experiences and insights.

The ULI Advisory Panel was asked to consider these and other questions:

  • How might the ITC provide distinctive experiences within the museum and beyond its walls?

  • How might the current site and property best be utilized to advance the missions of the ITC and UTSA?
  • How can the university contribute positively to the long-term vision of Hemisfair and the ongoing vitalization of downtown?

  • What types of partnerships should UTSA consider to help advance its future vision and achieve financial success for the ITC?

The report by the ULI Advisory Panel asserts that ITC’s mission, site location and building are distinct considerations requiring separate discussions.

“Focusing on the ITC as a compelling institution enables UTSA to help the ITC thrive and powerfully tell the stories of and meet the needs of an ever-evolving San Antonio,” report authors wrote. “UTSA is primed to deliver an ITC that honors the message of inclusion and the diversity of backgrounds in San Antonio and Texas, recognizing the layered histories of San Antonio, its people and the Hemisfair location. This represents an opportunity that positions the ITC not as a museum of the past but as a more expansive and important institution that has a central role in linking the echoes of Texas history with contemporary events.”

Other key ideas of the ULI report include:

  • Find a new Hemisfair location and building for the ITC that better support future institutional priorities, create stronger synergies with the Hemisfair campus, and heighten community and visitor access.

  • Through integrated master planning, work to integrate the UTSA site with Hemisfair Park. Enable new uses on the UTSA site that support the entire Hemisfair campus and the city’s important tourism and hospitality industries.

  • Build and strengthen partnerships among UTSA, Hemisfair and the City of San Antonio.

The ULI report and other resources, including an accreditation assessment by museum planning consultant Marcy Goodwin, will help inform and serve as reference material for the broader visioning process.

“Collectively, the expert resources combined with the community input, as well as the diverse backgrounds and expertise of the task force and steering committee members themselves, will continue to guide the conversation on how best to reimagine, preserve and promote the ITC’s tremendous assets for all Texans,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and senior vice president of UTSA and ITC Centennial 2068 chair.

Visit the ITC Community Conversations webpage to learn more about the task force recommendations.
Take the survey on the webpage to share your thoughts about the recommendations. The survey deadline has been extended to February 17.

Over the next couple of months, the steering committee will meet to review the task force reports and community feedback. Their final scenarios are expected to be available for public feedback in May 2022.

“ITC Centennial 2068 is a community-driven process, and we are grateful for the community’s continued input as the steering committee synthesizes recommendations from the three task forces into realistic scenarios under which ITC may thrive over the next 50 years,” said steering committee co-chair Carlos Martinez, senior vice president and chief of staff.

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