Native American Cultural Arts Center and Gallery opens in San Antonio

Center for American Indians In Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions grand opening is Friday

SAN ANTONIO – The first center to support the cultural restoration of the American Indian peoples of South Texas is getting a permanent location after nearly three decades of serving the community.

American Indians In Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AIT) will be celebrating the grand opening of the permanent location from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 24 at 1616 E. Commerce Street on San Antonio’s East Side. The event is free and open to the public.

The center will provide resources and services to American Indian communities, including the growing number of community members needing support services and connection to a healing culture, according to the event page.

Event schedule:

  • 10 a.m. - Opening blessing
  • 11 a.m. - Photo opportunities
  • 11:30 a.m. - Open house tours start
  • 1 p.m. - Cultural performance
  • 4 p.m. - “Volcan” live music

AIT was established in 1994 by members of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation to strengthen the Native community in San Antonio, according to a press release.

“We’ve learned that cities that have spaces for American Indians to gather and share their culture thrive better compared to cities that do not have these resources. So the fact that we’re able to initiate this and establish it for the San Antonio community is history. It also brings a sense of permanency for AIT,” AIT’s Executive Director Ramon J. Vasquez said.

AIT has served thousands of families and community members since it first opened. The organization focuses on health and wellness, community engagement and indigenous arts and culture.

The organization’s health and wellness work includes the San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign, Seventh Generation Birthing Services and Healing the Wounded Spirit Counseling Services, the press release states.

With the new location, program coordinators will be able to host classes, store supplies, hold events, and comfortably complete administrative work on campus, something that would’ve been difficult in prior locations.

“And while we’re able to do all that, at the same time we’ll be able to share our aboriginal history; the history of our first families of Texas and North Mexico, so that not only community residents but tourists can get a full picture of the rich history and contributions made by the first American Indian families of this city,” Vasquez said.

Related: San Antonio’s first Native American Cultural Arts Center and Gallery to open soon

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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