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Published on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

City of San Antonio Wins Innovation Award for Arts and Culture from Sister Cities International

Contact:  Javier Flores, Department for Culture & Creative Development  210-207-6960, javier.flores@sanantonio.gov

Jeannette Garcia, Economic Development Department  210-207-3915, jeannette.garcia@sanantonio.gov

SAN ANTONIO (July 19, 2016) –  The City of San Antonio was presented with Sister Cities International’s (SCI) 2016 Innovation Award for Arts and Culture for a city with a population greater than 500,000. District 8 City Councilman and Vice Chairman of the Sister Cities International Board of Directors Ron Nirenberg, accepted the award on behalf of the City at SCI’s Annual Awards on July 16, a part of the organization’s 60th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.

The Innovation Award for Arts and Culture recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding community and individual sister city programs that promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. The City of San Antonio was recognized for its efforts to showcase international artists through exhibitions, speaking presentations, cultural festivals, and more, while providing opportunities for local artists and residents to engage with them.

“Culture and arts is the arm that extends the hand of economic development. We are proud of the partnerships forged in San Antonio at the local level that create critical linkages between our city and global partners. They exemplify the Sister Cities mission of peace and prosperity through exchange,” said Councilman Nirenberg.

The award recognizes some of the many international arts and cultural events linked to our friendship and sister cities that took place in San Antonio during 2015 including:

  • “Mano Factura: Arte Regio Exhibit,” a three-month long outdoor exhibit that featured 30 sculptures painted by different artists from Monterrey, Mexico.
  • “Wings of the City” exhibit from Mexico City, a five-month urban outdoor exhibit from world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín. San Antonio and Mexico City signed an economic cooperation agreement two months later.
  • The participation of a dance troupe and musicians as a gift from the City of Guadalajara during the Mexican Consulate’s Mexican Independence Day Cultural Celebration.
  • The visit of Kumamon, the world-famous mascot from Kumamoto, Japan that included a skit on a nationally-televised San Antonio Spurs game.
  • The kick-off for “Hats Off, Chennai,” a grassroots fundraising initiative to salute Chennai for its spirit and perseverance during the catastrophic floods of 2015, which collected approximately $140,000 when it ended in April 2016.
  • San Antonio’s annual Diwali Festival of Lights, a celebration of Indian culture that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
  • “The Book Garden” exhibit, an installation at San Antonio’s Central Library from Taiwanese artist Long-Bin Chen and local students featuring sculptures made from books and printed materials.
  • “Luminaria,” the annual contemporary arts festival which featured two artists from San Antonio’s sister city Gwangju, Korea and their impressive illuminated works of art.
  • “An Evening with Benito Cabrera” that included several free concerts by “timple” virtuoso Benito Cabrera that represented two sister cities in the Canary Islands.
  • “Don Quixote:  A San Antonio-Chennai Sister City Presentation,” a 21st century stage adaptation from Chennai, India of the 17th century novel “Don Quixote” presented by Arts San Antonio and Anuja SA.

The City of San Antonio was also recognized for its collaborative partnerships with other organizations to put on these events, including: Anuja SA, The Mexican Entrepreneur Association (AEM)  San Antonio Chapter, the Consulate General of Mexico and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico, the City of Guadalajara Arts and Cultural Affairs Department, Aeroméxico, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the Southwest School of Art, the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Japan America Society of San Antonio, Luminaria, the Consulate General of Japan in Houston, the Kumamoto Prefectural Government in Japan, Musical Bridges Around the World, the Catholic Archdiocese, the University of the Incarnate Word, Casa España, and the Government of the Canary Islands. 

SCI’s Annual Awards are awarded in several categories including Best Overall, Innovation (Arts and Culture, Economic Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and Youth and Education), and Volunteer of the Year. SCI’s 60th anniversary celebration took place in Washington, D.C. July 13-16.

Founded as a Presidential Initiative by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for 570 member communities with 2,300 partnerships in 150 countries on six continents. The sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote the organizations’ mission of creating world peace and understanding through economic development, youth and education, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Councilman Ron Nirenberg accepts Sister Cities International’s (SCI) 2016 Innovation Award for Arts and Culture, presented to the City of San Antonio during SCI’s 60th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C. on July 16, 2016. Courtesy: City of San Antonio. 

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