JUNE 16, 2022 — With the public release of three scenarios for the future of the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC), a key to securing that future continues—the community input process.
On Tuesday, the ITC Centennial 2068: Community Stakeholder Visioning steering committee released its draft report for public input. The report includes three feasible scenarios to advise UTSA leadership on the future of the ITC.
At the same time, UTSA commenced a Community Conversation enabling the public to provide feedback about each of the scenarios. An online survey, available in English and Spanish, will guide the feedback process. The community will also have the option to complete the survey at the UTSA Westside Community Center.
UTSA will host the Community Conversation through July 12.
“This last Community Conversation survey is our opportunity to chime in on the three scenarios the Steering Committee has developed for the future location of the ITC,” said Jamie Kowalski, a member of the ITC Centennial 2068 Steering Committee. Kowalski is the vice president of corporate relations at the RK Group, one of the city’s renowned leaders in culinary and hospitality services and contract venue management. “Make sure to have your voice heard.”
The steering committee report includes three feasible scenarios to advise UTSA leadership on the future of the ITC: relocate the ITC from the Texas Pavilion and Hemisfair district, relocate the ITC from the Texas Pavilion and remain in the Hemisfair district, or remain in the Texas Pavilion in its current location.
The report reflects the comprehensive process to engage the community that has guided the steering committee from the beginning. Throughout the fall of 2021 and through thoughtful discussions informed by expert resources, public input and a diverse group of community and stakeholders, the task forces explored different aspects of the ITC, including museum programming, community outreach and considerations around the institute’s site and facility.
The steering committee held more than a dozen meetings to evaluate the input received from the task force recommendations, additional public input and expert resources and to develop feasible scenarios to present to UTSA leadership regarding the future of the ITC.
Ultimately, the input from the community will impact the roadmap UTSA leadership draws to navigate the ITC’s future.
For steering committee member Andres Andujar, it was his work on the project that reinforced the important role the public plays in determining the next 50 years of the ITC.
“This effort crystalized for me the importance of the ITC to Hemisfair and the community,” said Andujar, who is the CEO of the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Co (HPARC). The local firm is spearheading the redevelopment of the Hemisfair Park Area, a master-planned project focused on breathing new life into the center city. Under Andujar’s leadership, HPARC helped develop Yanaguana Garden and welcomed the first residential development to the area, The ’68.
“The visioning process has been conducted with open, transparent and ongoing community-engaged dialogue—including three community surveys—to ensure all voices are heard and ideas incorporated,” he added, about the ITC visionary process.
Those unaffiliated with the process to create the ITC of the future are also championing UTSA’s efforts to create a venue that the entire community will embrace.
“This is a unique opportunity for San Antonians to have an influential voice in shaping the future of the ITC as the touchstone for Texas history and culture,” said David Heard, CEO of TechBloc, the local tech advocacy nonprofit that was created to attract and retain tech talent in San Antonio. “I support UTSA’s efforts and their bold vision to think outside of the box and reimagine what a future Institute of Texan Cultures would look like 50 years from now and beyond.”
As the steering committee came up with a vision for the ITC, three key themes emerged: the institute’s location, its financial sustainability, and its programming. The steering committee used these themes as the framework to develop its draft scenarios. For each scenario, the steering committee defined the advantages and disadvantages so that San Antonians have the full picture of what the future could hold for the ITC—both the opportunities and the challenges.
“The voice of the community is the first phase of reimagining this important beacon of culture: how do we want this museum of the future to look, and where should it live?” said Javier Paredes, who served on the ITC Centennial 2068Facility and Land Stewardship Task Force, one of three task forces composed of various community leaders with diverse expertise who brought their individual backgrounds and experiences to bear on a plan for the ITC.
In particular, the Facility and Land Stewardship task force considered how the ITC contributes to the vision of Hemisfair and the ongoing revitalization of downtown. Among the large topics the task force considered: how to ensure that the ITC is the “go to” place to experience the rich mosaic of Texan cultures.
The experiences that Paredes brought to his task force include his work as an urban designer with Alta Architects, the local firm formerly known as Muñoz & Co. Paredes has been involved with several master-planned projects, including the San Pedro Creek Culture Park.
This multiyear, multimillion dollar project will ultimately span 2.2 miles through downtown, beginning at IH-35 at the flood tunnel inlet at Santa Rosa and ending at the confluence of the Alazan and Apache Creeks at IH-35 to the south—adding more than 60,000 linear feet of new walls, four miles of walking trails and 11 acres of landscaping along the way.
“We must continue to illuminate the story of Texas for future generations and expand awareness and appreciation for our unique cultural heritage by developing the institute’s research and storytelling power through innovative programming, immersive technology, and the exploration of topics at the intersection of culture and current events,” added Paredes about the ITC project. “Culture is a community’s DNA.”
Community input is central to developing a well-conceived roadmap for the next 50 years of the ITC. To date, the visioning process has included opportunities for public input and ideation through two rounds of Community Conversations that sought input from a wide variety of ITC stakeholders.Virtual Event
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