For more than 130 years, the YMCA has worked to facilitate growth for individuals as well as communities by providing social-enrichment programs that promote honesty, respect, and responsibility. YMCA of Greater San Antonio, which features locations throughout the metropolitan area, helps people improve their lives with healthy living programs that offer inclusive training classes as well as lifelong learning classes. Youth development initiatives and childcare services allow children as well as teens to develop positive behaviors while exploring their interests in a safe, supportive environment. The centers also encourage social responsibility by providing opportunities to support local communities through volunteerism and charitable giving.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center began weaving itself into the fabric of San Antonio’s arts and theater scene more than three decades ago to share the richness of Chicano, Latino, and Native American art forms. Now a cornerstone of the community, the nonprofit touches the lives of more than 100,000 people each year with theater and dance performances, cultural festivals, and creative classes. The center passes down traditional forms of expression, such as Mexican Folklórico dance and cactus juggling while also embracing contemporary art forms such as photography.
Each year, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s festivals welcome large crowds of adults, kids, and multiple Waldos. Foremost among them are CineFestival, the Tejano Conjunto music festival, and Hecho A Mano, a holiday crafts and arts festival. For its members, the center organizes a wealth of educational programming, teaching everything from oil painting and guitar to karate.
This citadel of contemporary contributions to the art world is housed in a re-used and renovated 1920s warehouse on the bank of the San Antonio River. Since 1986, art has been bringing the forgotten space back to life, and four distinct gallery spaces play home to more than 20 exhibitions each year. Your family Blue Star membership is like a holiday stocking stuffed with delightful sugar plums and savory Reubens. You'll receive invitations to private openings, public lectures, education events, and fundraisers, as well as a subscription to Blue Star's quarterly newsletter. You'll also get a 10% discount at participating King William and Southtown restaurants for pre- or post-museum sustenance and a 10% discount on all Blue Star merchandise. Most importantly, you'll be supporting a local cultural institution that thrives not on advertising for mega marts or mega burgers, but on the support of regular folks.
As the Spanish translation of Raices de Arte Espanol attests, owners Carmen and Jose Linares each have strong roots in the arts. Born in Spain, Jose began playing guitar professionally at 12 years old, traveling the world to perform for icons such as President John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Dancing by age 3, Puerto Rican–born Carmen trained in New York with the American Ballet Theatre, toured with the ballet companies of Philadelphia and San Juan, and began teaching flamenco in San Antonio in the 1970s. Today, the couple shares the art of flamenco with others at their studio, where students apply their own expressive twists to footwork and even wield castanets to clack out rhythms or Morse-code messages to one another as they dance.
The low-hanging branches of southern live oak trees stretch out over the house and pavilion areas at Don Strange Ranch, dappling parties, weddings, and corporate team gatherings with splashes of sunlight. Since 1952, the 125-acre longhorn ranch in the Texas Hill Country has hosted myriad events, including scenes from the PBS music documentary series Live from the Artists Den and the wedding of country music stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
More than just a picturesque backdrop, the ranch’s rugged natural surroundings host outdoor activities such as ropes courses and kayak trips down the Guadalupe River. And the friendly staffers who man 350- to 400-foot ziplines work to ease guests out of their comfort zones, like a mother bird pushing her young out of the nest for their first extreme base-jumping lesson.