San Antonio’s West Side Becomes Cultural Arts District

SAN ANTONIO – Kathy Vargas strolled through her old playground on the West Side of San Antonio or, as the locals say, El Mero Weso.

It was there that she was director of visual arts for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

“The goal was to go to New York, you have to make a name for yourself, New York is the place to be if you are a visual artist. But I loved the Guadalupe so much and realized that ‘There was so much work to do here because there were amazing and amazing artists here, ”Vargas said.

So, she and her colleagues at Guadalupe gave these Latino artists a space to exhibit their work and get noticed. It was the start of many legendary artists like Vincent Valdez and the late Adan Hernandez. Now this gem is part of an El Mero Weso, which is an apt name for this newly designated cultural arts district.

“Now he goes by the name we always thought it was,” Vargas said. “So now that it’s a cultural arts district, hurray, now the rest of the city is catching up.”

Young artists like Alyssa can enjoy this arts district for decades to come. She is a regular at Say if, a non-profit youth organization, which just moved to the West Side and played a huge role in the Texas Arts Commission in designating this neighborhood as a cultural arts district.

“It’s really cool to be able to be very close to the arts districts, like artistic things like the Guadalupe Theater. I played theater there at CAST and those people there were so nice, ”Alyssa said.

SAY Sí, is one of the eight organizations that will make up this El Mero Weso. The main database will be at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Bookstore and Gift Shop.

It’s pretty obvious that Vargas is excited about the cultural arts district of El Mero Weso and all she wants is for these nonprofits to continue the mission that she and many others have started. decades ago.

“What we did here, what we presented here, meant a lot to cultural life, artistic life and beyond,” said Vargas.

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