Awesome SA, a group San Antonians that award $1,000 per month to fund local “awesome” ideas, takes its award ceremony to Beat Street Coffee Company and Bistro at 2512 N. Main Ave. this Thursday. For a bit of holiday cheer, the gathering also calls for your ugliest sweater to be worn and entered into a contest. Both winners will be announced during the 6-8 p.m. event for the last Awesome SA hurrah of 2013.

UPDATE from Thursday night: Robert Trevino, of Little Italy San Antonio, an organization devoted to reviving a small area on the northwest outskirts of downtown that was once a neighborhood where Italian immigrants settled – was the recipient of a $1000 grant form The Awesome SA Foundation.  The event was held last night at Beat Street Coffee Company and Bistro, a unique establishment nestled in the Monte Vista neighborhood.  Little Italy San Antonio is also home to the country’s oldest Italian organization known as the Christopher Columbus Italian Society.  The $1000 grant will be used to light up new signage renaming Columbus Park as Piazza Di Colombo.  For more information about Little Italy San Antonio, please visit the group’s website at

Roberto Treviño of Little Italy holds his $1000 grant and a rendering of the Piazza Di Columbo for a photo with Awesome SA Trustees and Deans. Courtesy Photo.

See the Facebook event page here: Awesome Ugly Sweaters Batman!

Below is a summary of each applicant as submitted to the Awesome SA board and trustees (with minor edits for style and grammar). Their votes are in, but which awesome idea do you think deserves the $1,000 kick-start?

Roots in the Shadows of San Antonio – Phillip Luna

A little about me:

I was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1972. I currently live and work as a full time artist/musician/graphic designer. I am self-taught with over twenty five years experience in visual art, music composition and performance. My work is based mostly on my struggle with emotional health, love and outer space. I have been a consummate contributor to the SA art and music scene for almost three decades. I am in three bands, one voted Best Jazz Act in 2013 by The Current. I am a husband of 15 years and a father of three. I love SA.

Here’s my idea:

“Roots in the Shadows of San Antonio” is a FREE music compilation created by Phillip Luna and Jason Trevino featuring thirteen San Antonio bands that have been playing the same SA stages together for over twenty five years. The “roots” of the current SA music scene. All the featured bands are still currently writing, recording and performing in SA.

"Roots of San Antonio." Donated artwork by Robert Tatum.
“Roots of San Antonio.” Donated artwork by San Antonio artist Robert Tatum.

“Roots in the Shadows” is mastered by Brant Sankey (donated) with artwork by Robert Tatum (donated) and features original music by The Whiskey Ships, The Rosedale Highs, Apache ’65, Fear Snakeface, Please Help!, Garrett T. Capps, Douglas Miles Clark, I Ching Gatos, Nat’l Parks, Puppy Jet, King Pelican, Snowbyrd and The Man Eaters of Tsavo.

The compilation will be released at (under construction) for download as well as other download sites. We will also print download cards and CDs for give away at pre-approved local business.

This summer, every Sunday at sundown Jason Trevino and I presented a different “Roots” artist at a unique location to raise funds for production. Some of the venues included The Hays St. Bridge, Dignowitty Park, Cruz Ortiz’s art studio and The Circle School among others. Beer and food was donated and the artists performed an intimate set that included stories of their experiences in the SA music community and songs from their extensive catalog. These were free events which generated $600 in donations.

Jason and I conceived this project as a way to bring attention to a community of bands that are committed and loyal to writing and performing ORIGINAL music in San Antonio to progress their artistic message as well as the rich music culture that has always been a part of San Anto.

As a FREE project we plan to interest music lovers who otherwise would have no knowledge of the artists involved. The CDs will be sent to college radio stations across the US and beyond to bring further attention to our strong and rooted music community.

How I will use the money:

The money we have earned in donations will cover the manufacturing of 1,000 drop cards, the postcards on which they will be placed for packaging and any website basic administrative fees.

We would use the grant to manufacture 1,000 CDs with packaging and promotional posters for the giveaway sites. The CDs would have a bar code for businesses to enter the intake of free CDs.

Additional costs would be incurred by Jason Trevino and myself and recouped by donations received at a final reception.

How will this make the San Antonio community more awesome?

By showcasing San Antonio’s finest artists, musicians, music advocates, local businesses and alternative event venues that are otherwise overlooked. By providing a marketing tool for artists and musicians who otherwise are limited by finances or their current fan base. By continuing the DIY work ethic that has been the heart of ours and so many other burgeoning art communities that all one day blossom into national and world treasures.

Son Semillas – Arabella Daniels

A little about me:

I am an educator, organizer, Westside resident and a member of a San Antonio son jarocho collective called SonAnto Sonando. Son jarocho is a type of folk music originating from Veracruz, Mexico which I have been playing since 2007. I have spent the last five years in the classroom working with youth, specializing in bilingual education. Currently I work for a westside neighborhood association that strives to organize with residents as a way to get more resources to improve our community.

Here’s my idea:

Son jarocho is mexican folk music that is expressed through the community event of fandangos. The fandango is a unique community event where an opportunity is presented for everyone to come together to sing, dance, eat, pray, convivir. It is also an important space that provides the opportunity for self expression, reflection, and the sharing of resources, words, and feelings.

son semillas

Playing son jarocho and participating in fandangos is about more than just playing music for people, it is about following certain values, such as having a sense of community, simplicity, humility, and sharing. It is a way to preserve and maintain cultural identity and provides a positive and creative outlet for young people. Learning to play Son and participating in fandangos is an invaluable experience and cultural legacy that provides us with an opportunity to come together, talk, listen, heal, celebrate, and learn from one another as a community and as young people and adults.

What we hope to accomplish with this program is to teach children music and self expression, as well as help them and their families become more involved members of their community. We know this is important because many studies closely link participation in music and art programs to academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and more equitable opportunity. This is why we want to make sure that the children in our underserved communities have access to arts programs that enrich their lives.

Our goal is to establish a strong jaranero group with youth that can be a part of and support their community long-term. Our first winter/spring session will start in January of 2014. We will teach a class for an hour and a half weekly until school lets out for the summer, in addition to holding a monthly fandango the last weekend of every month. The classes will focus on teaching music, singing, dancing, versos, and instrumentation, and on the values and etiquette surrounding the fandango itself.

How I will use the money:

It is our desire that this workshop be FREE for all children who register for this program. What we do need is funding for our instruments. We can get 10 instruments for $900, with the other $100 paying for materials to build a tarima, the large wooden platform that is the center of the fandango in which the dancers use to dance on and keep rhythm. The timing of this grant is also very important since we ideally would like to start this program in January of this year.

How will this make the San Antonio community more awesome?

Seeing the direct impact that music has on children in the classroom made me realize how important it is that this music be shared with children, and seeing how effective the fandango is at bringing people together made me realize how important it is that this music be shared with my neighbors and community.

As an organizer for a neighborhood association I spend a good amount of time knocking on doors in the Westside and Southside and talking to people about what is going on in their neighborhoods. It has been heartbreaking for me to hear story after story from parents and grandparents – or worse, from children themselves – who don’t feel safe on their street, in their neighborhood, or in their community.

This has made me realize how crucial it is to provide an enriching and healing environment for children and a safe and welcoming space for people and families in our neighborhoods. We want to provide a an environment that fosters the ability for neighbors to come together, meet one another, share our stories and experiences, and celebrate everything that makes us proud to live in and/or be from San Antonio.

It is our dream that by having this workshop and holding these monthly fandangos we can become one step closer to a more diverse, unified, vibrant, and strong community that supports our struggling young people, our burgeoning artistas, and our cultural heritage. In doing this we help San Antonio by providing valuable learning opportunities, musical scholarship, and safe and positive outlets and alternatives for our cities most underserved youth.

Piazza DiColombo, Little Italy in San Antonio – Roberto Treviño

A litte about me:

My name is Roberto Treviño and I am a local architect representing the Christopher Columbus Italian Society and the newly formed Piazza Di Columbo 501(c)(3). I am small business with a diverse portfolio of project types. I have lived in San Antonio for over sixteen years and wish to contribute to the social and cultural fabric of our community. I am currently in Leadership San Antonio class 38 and have been asked to serve on the Airport Advisory Committee.

Here’s my idea:

Every major city in this great country has its unique cultural corridors or neighborhoods and some cities are defined by them. San Antonio is no different with its incredible pioneer history. This city will celebrate 300 years of its existence in 2018. Most people know the city for the “Alamo” and the spirit of rugged individualism. This is a great city with hidden treasures all throughout the region. I believe one of those treasures exists at the heart of where the city began its nearly 300 year existence. Little Italy San Antonio represents everything this city was founded on.

Piazza DiColombo rendering by Robert Treviño.
Piazza DiColombo rendering by Robert Treviño.

As early as the 1870s Italians from southern Italy specifically from a town in the Calabria region known as Spezzano della Sila migrated to San Antonio. They would settle in the northwest part of downtown and band together to form their very own Italian neighborhood. In 1890 they would create the country’s oldest Italian organization known as the Christopher Columbus Italian Society.

In 1927, the midst of the Great Depression their organization intrepidly built the now historic San Francesco Di Paola church and the CCIS Hall. In the late 1950s the highway act commissioned I35 and I10, cutting through the old italian neighborhood. The only remnants of the neighborhood are the church, the hall and Christopher Columbus Park. Little Italy San Antonio is a non-profit development seeking help to salvage the authentic history that exists today. Members are getting older and their generation is threatened with consequence of a forgotten legacy. LISA will provide a community/cultural center rich in authentic italian history that is unique to San Antonio.

We must tell this story where it began and ensure a legacy that we can all appreciate. San Antonio is Awesome, especially for its history which is weaved into the fabric for all of us to enjoy.

How I will use the money:

We will use the money to help light the newly constructed signage depicting the new name of Columbus Park as Piazza Di Colombo.

We hope to receive further endorsements of the project and feel your foundation is a step in that direction. We budgeted the following:

  • Four in-ground landscape lights: $250 each
  • Conduit, romex and connectors: $250. (Originally provided by Parks and Recreation)
  • Labor at $1,100 originally donated by CCIS and Parks and Recreation should still be valid but I anticipate a higher labor cost since everything is already covered.

How will this make the San Antonio community more awesome?

This project will be another great destination for locals and tourists. LISA will work to partner with other existing elements of our community such as; Hemisfair Park, Main Plaza, La Villita, the Alamo, the Riverwalk and the San Pedro Creek improvements.

It will represent many layers of history in one unique place downtown.

Rio Viva Diva – San Antonio River Foundation

A little about me:

The mission of the San Antonio River Foundation is to promote educational, cultural, and scientific projects and activities that enhance the conservation, stewardship, restoration, preservation, and enjoyment of the land and water resources of the San Antonio River basin and its tributaries.

The San Antonio River Improvements Project, one of the country’s most exciting public works projects creating a linear urban park weaving through San Antonio. The River Foundation’s latest project is Confluence Park, which will serve as a learning center unlike any other, featuring a solar powered covered pavilion, water catchment systems and community gardens. The River Foundation will also continue to provide artistic enhancements with a series of art benches dotting the River and plans to artistically enhance portals linking the Missions to the River while driving home the historical significance of our city’s relationship to the river and its settlers.

Here’s my idea:

The San Antonio River Foundation is gearing up for an event of a different “style,” to celebrate the Alamo City’s Best accessory, the San Antonio River. This event will be different from your typical Fashion Show, in that we will be using only local San Antonio boutiques to provide the fashion, as well as only local San Antonio Women as our models.


We want to celebrate what our great city has to offer, keeping it local, local, local! The event will be held on January 30th 2014, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre.

How I will use the money:

We will use this money to help pay for the event venue and cost to put it on. It is a fundraiser, but of course to raise funds with events we have to spend money.

How will this make the San Antonio community more awesome?

Having an event that is bringing focus to local business owners, to celebrate our city and accomplished women is going to be totally AWSOME! To quote Lorenzo Gomez of the 80/20 Foundation let’s bring our focus to “San Antonio, a City on the Rise.”

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San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.