Activist community

Fronteras: “It comes from the community” — The Museo del Westside preserves the unique stories of its residents; The women of MujerArtes share their life stories through clay

Residents of San Antonio’s nearby West Side Historic District have long watched its centuries-old culture erode as the city grew from within. An often underfunded area with a lack of infrastructure has led to floodand urban renewal has led to the demolition of historical structures.

Nevertheless, the quasi-West Side persevered.

His stories are now housed in a new museum. the Westside Museum will be housed in what was once the historic Ruben’s Ice House, a 1930s residence that became a grocery store in the 1950s, then an icehouse that closed in the 1980s.

TPR’s Norma Martinez interviewing Graciela Sanchez, director of the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, in the Casita at El Rinconcito de Esperanza.

Graciela Sánchez is the director of the Esperanza Center for Peace and Justice. Sanchez explained the spark behind the creation of the Museo.

“We were doing oral histories, and although we started with one or two people, we had community gatherings with people on the West Side who didn’t know each other,” she said. “[They] started forming friendships and basically their own little community.

The museum is set to open in May 2023 with the “Historias del Westside” exhibition, an investigation into the history of the Westside from the 1880s to the 1970s.

The museum is currently virtual – you can view their ‘Women and Activism in the Westside’ exhibit. here.

Listen to part 1 of our conversation with Graciela Sánchez here.


“This is an extension of myself” – MujerArtes provides a space for women to share their experiences

Perpendicular to the future Museo del Westside is a compressed adobe structure that houses the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center MujerArtes project — part of Rinconcito de Esperanza.

It is a women’s clay cooperative that brings women of all ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities and ideologies together to learn, teach and create.

We spoke to some women about what they do at MujerArtes and how working with clay – with earth – touches their lives.

The Esperanza Peace & Justice Center will host Westside Paseoa community gathering that celebrates the neighborhood’s history with music, storytelling and walking tours, May 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.