La Zona debuts with Nomad Music Festival

Centro San Antonio, a place-making organization that works to activate downtown San Antonio, has just come off another successful season of Peacock Alley. But don’t expect Downtown to rest, Centro is immediately launching its next activation location, La Zona, this weekend.

La Zona is located on the 300 block of Commerce, behind the Alameda Theater next to San Pedro Creek. Like its predecessor, the idea behind La Zona is to revitalize an abandoned block, turning it into an entirely unique destination.

The space is already home to unique art and architecture, including a giant statue of Vladimir Lenin’s head with a miniature Chairman Mao on top. The sculpture, titled “Miss Mao trying to stand on top of Lenin’s head”, was made in 2009 by brothers Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, is a satirical commentary on communism. The play itself brought its own history and its own controversy to San Antonio alone.

The activators themselves come from a variety of backgrounds. La Zona aims to be a place for the homeless. It will connect with creators who don’t necessarily fit into specific industries. It can be an activation and guiding ground for creatives who have nowhere to showcase their talents, lack the capital to do so, or simply need help getting started. Centro wants to guide them along the way.

“La Zona is a breath of fresh air,” said community activator Chris Leal.

Leal, who helped coordinate activations down the aisle, says previous events outside of downtown felt half-done, with no real community. La Zona, like the Allée before it, wants to be different.

“Miss Mao trying to balance herself on top of Lenin’s head”, a large-scale sculpture, was installed in a courtyard in the 300 block of downtown Commerce Street.

Kin Man Hui / Personal Photographer

“He will provide an incubator for the downtown San Antonio scene to grow and thrive.”


Leal has won three events at La Zona, with his first event set to take place in early to mid-July.

The name La Zona comes from the cultural district of La Zona. The overall district has 44 full blocks, and in 2015 was officially recognized as the Texas Commission of the Arts District; a designation shared only with 27 other districts statewide, King William being another.

La Zona’s historical significance carries weight, as an area as old as the city itself.

“The cultural story of Zona tells the story of San Antonio,” says Elizabeth Burt, director of urban activation + play at Centro. “From a presidio to a bustling and vibrant global city, La Zona offers Centro and the city a unique opportunity to marry our respect for history, culture and community with a nod to our cool and vibrant future. prosperous.”

La Zona will kick off its summer lineup with the Nomad Music Festival on Saturday, June 11.

La Zona will kick off its summer lineup with the Nomad Music Festival on Saturday, June 11.

Courtesy of Centro San Antonio

The activation of La Zona will focus on two different phases, starting with experimentation and curation. The second phase will transition to true hosting, an open call engagement from the community to define the place with more stakeholders and creators.

La Zona’s launch event is the Nomad Music Festival on Saturday, June 11, with performances by several local artists starting at 4 p.m. The concept comes from Joshua “The Nomad” Patino, another community activator. Patino is a young local who has turned the back of a van into a clothing company, Life’s Sweet Co.

In addition to music, the event will host local food, art, games and vendors. Admission is $18, with all proceeds going to the performers.

The summer program continues with the Music for Advanced Writers album launch party on June 18. Presented by local creative studio Heavy Heavy, the event will pick up on their past listening parties, Music for Advanced Listeners, which now features original works.

On June 25, there will be a movie night with Slab Cinema, for a special screening of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Expect water-themed vendors, decor, and giveaways.

On top of that, Centro is planning other fall events for La Zona, including long-running pop-ups from their friends at La Botanica and Classical Theater.

La Zona embodies Centro’s mission as “a place-making organization working every day to create a more beautiful, playful, welcoming and thriving downtown showcasing the spirit of San Antonio in the heart of the city” . From historic roots to soon-to-be experimental quiddity, La Zona will be a place of fun for all.

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