The celebration of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary has been marked by one buzzword in particular: confluence. This convergence of cultures, voices, people, and traditions will permeate the 30th installment of PechaKucha San Antonio, which will take place Tuesday, May 29, at a new venue that is all about confluence: Confluence Park.
The recently completed park in South San Antonio will play host to the local rendition of the speaker series in which presenters have six minutes and 40 seconds – 20 seconds for each of 20 PowerPoint slides – to tell a story, share an idea, or advocate for something near and dear to their hearts.
Among the speakers are Confluence Park’s executive director, a public-relations expert, a member of the Southwest School of Art’s inaugural class of Bachelor of Fine Arts degree recipients, and a local jazz legend.
Happy hour kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with cocktails and bites provided by local purveyors. Presentations, emceed by News 4 San Antonio’s weeknight anchor Randy Beamer and local artist Gary Sweeney, will begin at 8:45 p.m. The event features a slightly pared-down roster of speakers – six instead of the usual seven or eight – and a later start time, a consideration of the outdoor venue and warmer temperatures, organizer Vicki Yuan said. Presentations will be back-to-back without the customary “beer break” in between.
Conceived by Japanese architects in 2003, PechaKucha’s format pushes its speakers to deliver their message in a concise and creative manner. The event has since been replicated in more than 900 cities worldwide, with San Antonio’s branch going strong since 2011.
Here are PechaKucha San Antonio Vol. 30’s presenters (biographies provided by PechaKucha):
Robert Amerman is the San Antonio River Foundation’s executive director and has been involved in Confluence Park’s realization for the last seven years. He is a lifelong maker and complex problem-solver with careers spanning architecture, sculpture, and technology. Amerman founded a New York City technology company in 1996, which required 20 years of hard-headedness prior to him admitting that the virtual world is no place for a maker. Raised on a barrier island in rural South Carolina, Amerman’s ties to water, rivers, and happily creating messes seems to be a lifelong pursuit.
Mónica del Arenal is an architect with a master’s degree from UPC in Barcelona, an advanced diploma from University College London, and a graduate of the Program in Higher Direction of Museums, led by the Getty Leadership Institute and the ITAM. She has been the director of Albertina Cultural Projects since 2007, a consulting firm that focuses on heritage and territory research, the dissemination of cultural heritage, and conservation education and awareness.
From 2016 to 2018, she was the culture and education counselor for the Mexican Foreign Service, as the director of the Mexican Cultural Institute in San Antonio, where she developed 65 cultural activities in collaboration with about 30 institutions and government entities. In a span of 20 years she has received numerous awards, such as the Making a Mark on the World recognition from the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; the Graduate of the Year Award of the Brockmann Foundation; the Annual Prize of the Benemérita Sociedad de Geografía y Estadística, and the Special Prize of the XX Cemex Building Awards.
Jim Cullum is a San Antonio-based jazz cornetist and band leader who has been active for more than 50 years with more than 50 recorded albums and LPs. Beginning in a partnership with his late father, a clarinetist, Cullum has specialized in developing an individual sound from the pre-World War II traditional jazz stylings. His career highlight includes his development of and performance in Riverwalk Jazz, a highly successful, weekly nationwide public radio program.
The Jim Cullum Jazz Band has performed in a variety of venues, from the most obscure to Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, and currently performs nightly in venues across town. Aside from music, Cullum wants it to be known that in his early bohemian years, his main driving interest was perfecting recipes for concocting his favorite delight, the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Ethan González is an emerging artist among this year’s inaugural graduate class of the Southwest School of Art’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. Born and raised in San Antonio, he has an art focus on ceramics, with additional interests in painting and drawing. He also loves to cook, often making too much to eat on his own. His work has been featured in group shows at Cinnabar, Rubio South, and the recent Common Currents exhibition at the Carver Community Cultural Center. After graduation, González plans to stay local and acquire more teaching experience, while developing his commercial ceramic wares.
Trish DeBerry has a hands-on work ethic, getting down in the trenches for clients to create aggressive campaigns that influence public perception and get results regardless of the client’s industry and market. After a decade as a reporter, anchor, and producer at KENS-TV, DeBerry launched a career in public relations as a founding partner of Guerra DeBerry Coody, and in 2012 started her own agency, The DeBerry Group, specializing in public relations, public affairs, marketing, and social media.
Cecile Parrish was born and raised in San Antonio in her family’s gardens, enchanted by the magic she found there. She pursued an environmental science and sustainable agriculture degree at Warren Wilson College, which is centered around the school’s diversified farm of more than 300 acres in Asheville, North Carolina. She has worked on farms around the country for the past eight years and is a certified master beekeeper. Parrish moved back to San Antonio in 2016 to work for IDEA Public Schools as the charter school operator’s farm coordinator. Here, she started and now manages a 3-acre urban farm and recently launched a hydroponic farm for the district.