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event poster
Poster for MacArturos event

UTSA hosts MacArturos gathering Oct. 4-6

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Oct. 2, 2007)--UTSA will co-sponsor "Latino/Latina Genius: Locos, Dreamers and Visionaries," an Oct. 4-6 gathering of San Antonio area recipients of grants from the renowned John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Drawing on the diverse backgrounds and talents of local MacArthur grant recipients and local community leaders, the visionaries will cast their imaginations 10 years into San Antonio's future in search of a vision to fundamentally improve the state of human affairs.

An opening ceremony for the series of special presentations is 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4 in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.326) followed by a reception in the Buena Vista Street Building Assembly Room (1.338) at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The events are free and open to the public.

Presentations over the three-day event will be hosted at the UTSA Downtown Campus, Jump-Start Theater, University of the Incarnate Word, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio College, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Fernando Cathedral, Trinity University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas Diabetes Institute and St. Mary's University.

Download the "Latino/Latino Genius" event schedule (pdf document).

From the ranks of 756 scientists, historians, poets, novelists, artists, composers and public servants named MacArthur Fellows, 18 will participate in the San Antonio reunion. The 18 MacArthur Fellows, also known as "Los MacArturos," are Latinos who come from fields as diverse as politics, labor, performance, literacy, housing, history, the visual arts and health care, among others. San Antonio's contribution to the think tank is poet and novelist Sandra Cisneros, a MacArturo since 1995 who initiated San Antonio's first "Latino Genius" gathering.

Visit the UTSA MacArturos Reunion blog.

Presentation and discussion topics will include art in a time of crisis; San Antonio's vision for human rights, education and politics; testimonies and songs of the spirit; housing and community planning; and voting. Additionally, there will be a performance of the play, "The Mexorcist 2: America's Most Wanted Inner Demon."

Since 1981, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded grants to individuals of exceptional creativity and with significant achievement. Each year, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Grant of $500,000 is presented with no strings attached and no expectations. The awards allow exceptional individuals to dream big and accomplish even greater things, knowing that creativity is often stifled in its infancy because of the lack of funding.

"Ten years ago, UTSA hosted the MacArturos' first San Antonio reunion downtown and we welcomed 12 Latino geniuses," said Ellen Riojas Clark, UTSA professor of bicultural-bilingual studies and event co-organizer. "We are glad that UTSA is sponsoring this major event again and this time, bringing 18 geniuses onto our campus."

Clark, Cisneros and Michele Brinkley organized this MacArturo reunion. Over the three days of the reunion, the MacArturos invite the public to share in their vision through "dream circle" discussions presented at area universities, galleries and cultural centers. Eduardo Jimenez, UTSA lecturer of English, classics, philosophy and interdisciplinary learning and teaching; Patricia Jaramillo, UTSA assistant professor of political science and geography; and Belinda Flores, UTSA Faculty Fellow and associate professor of interdisciplinary learning and teaching, will attend the dream circles as local geniuses.

"Our city will be profoundly impacted by the discussions generated by the geniuses and the dream circles," said Clark. "To have visionaries, problem solvers, dreamers and out-of-the-box thinkers addressing issues will serve to articulate possible frameworks for addressing our future as a vital, dynamic and multicultural city."

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Read a Sept. 30 San Antonio Express-News story about Los MacArturos.

Listen to a Texas Public Radio story about the MacArturos reunion.

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