For DreamVoice founder Shokare Nakpodia, the genius of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was communication. 

While boycotts, protests and marches were all key parts of the movement, Black leaders “sat down together” with ideological opponents to talk through profound disagreements and deep-seated biases, he said.

DreamWeek began in 2013 in a similar spirit, as a way to bring people together to talk about issues affecting society and to celebrate creativity and a diversity of voices. 

The result is what Nakpodia called “the largest community-curated event of its kind in the nation,” with dozens of participants joining in annually with a range of offerings from fashion, food and visual art to thoughtful panel discussions and conversations beginning Friday and running through Jan. 29.

The DreamWeek events schedule includes free and ticketed events, and the official website offers a helpful “add to Dreamlist” feature and Google calendar links to keep track of events of interest. Below is a list of highlights from the week’s events.

Local leaders

Newly installed Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai will kick things off as the keynote speaker of Friday’s opening ceremony breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Jack Guenther Pavilion at the Briscoe Western Art Museum. Tickets for the event start at $65 for individuals, with table prices available.

Other local leaders to make appearances include Rudy Garza, the new president and CEO of CPS Energy, at the annual DreamWeek awards luncheon Jan. 20, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who will be guest of honor at the annual Mayor’s Dream Ball on Jan. 28. 

The second annual Freedom Walk will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in Lincoln Park, with an informative path to Martin Luther King Park marking milestones on the journey to achieving civil rights legislation.

The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM) will present several events throughout DreamWeek, including a Saturday morning boat tour starting from near its Presa Street headquarters, and the Burial Ground: Exploring African American Resting Places walking tour at San Antonio Cemetery #3 on Jan. 28 from noon to 1 p.m.

SAAACAM will also partner with San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson for a two-day writing workshop titled New Beginnings: Grow Where You Are Planted. The Jan. 21-22 workshop is free with registration.

Arts and culture

DreamWeek is filled with other arts and culture-focused events. The City’s MLK Commission will present the Youth Power Jam, a free concert from 3-9 p.m. at the Espee, on Jan. 14.

At 10 a.m. on Jan. 15 at the Spirit Filled Family Church in Schertz, gospel singer Kara Nichole will join the fellowship.

The City of San Antonio Culture Commons gallery opens Between Yesterday and Tomorrow: Perspectives from Black Contemporary Artists of San Antonio, curated by artist Barbara Felix, with a free reception Jan. 19 from 6-9 p.m.

The McNay Art Museum has extended its exhibition True Believers: Benny Andrews and Deborah Roberts, portraying Black life in an array of dazzling colors and inventive collage, through Feb. 5.

Fashion and artisan crafts play a big role in this year’s DreamWeek. On Jan. 13 from 6-9 p.m., the Lafrique fashion show at the Ultra Kitchen on Culebra Road will present African fashions along with Nigerian food selections.

San Antonio First Lady Erika Prosper will join the Middle Eastern and North African Women of Excellence for its annual celebration Jan. 17 from 4-8 p.m. at the Brick, featuring music, a handcrafts bazaar and Middle Eastern cuisine. The event is free but registration is required.

The popular African Market Festival at the Brick presented by the Òlàjú Art Group runs 5-10 p.m. on Jan. 21, hosted by local personality Uchennaya Ogba. A $25 ticket will garner access to performances, a runway fashion show, an art exhibition, a cafe featuring African cuisine and an artisan marketplace.

On Jan. 22, from 3-6 p.m., the Bonham Exchange hosts “Dreaming of Haute,” presented by Artistry of Fashion. Ticket prices range from $45 to $95 for those age 18 and over.

Nakpodia said the sheer number and eclectic variety of events is a strength of DreamWeek and a reflection of its community.  

“That’s what life is” in San Antonio, he said, “all these different organizations doing incredible things.”

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Nicholas Frank

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...