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SA2020 | Tobin Center 1-Year Anniversary: Celebrating the Awesome | SA2020

Tobin Center 1-Year Anniversary: Celebrating the Awesome

One year ago this month, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors to the public. But it was six years before then that the whole process started.

In 2008, taxpayers approved $100 million for the new performing arts center that didn’t even have a name yet. Then, years of details and decisions and construction and fundraising led to that day: September 4th, 2014. San Antonio’s latest major step toward growing our world-class arts community, the Tobin Center’s grand opening.

Celebrating the first anniversary of the opening of the Tobin Center feels extra momentous because this month also marks the 5th anniversary of SA2020 and our community’s vision for the future of San Antonio.

In September of 2010, residents of San Antonio set a vision for the future of our city that included “a diverse range of artistic expression that builds on our rich cultural heritage. The arts are integral to our way of life for citizens of all ages and backgrounds. Public and private support spurs a renaissance of artistic creativity where a vibrant cultural economy flourishes. Contemporary art reflects the dynamic nature of San Antonio’s artistic, literary and cultural communities and movements.”

Clearly, we knew our priorities. Since Sept. 4th 2014, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts has driven us toward that vision with amazing momentum. In one year, the Tobin has hosted over 430 events, assembled 10 resident companies providing consistent quality arts programming, and hosted 41 “Tobin Presents” performances including 23 sold-out shows. Their impact is obvious to Tobin resident companies – “Our audiences are bigger and more enthusiastic, our relationships with other arts organizations are stronger, and our musicians play better than ever,” says Troy Peters, Music Director for YOSA.


“We are proud to play a leading role in reaching the Arts and Culture goals of SA2020,” says Kendall Purpura, Vice President of Development for The Tobin Center. “ Through increased attendance, employment, and investment from the community, The Tobin Center is already bolstering the creative economy in San Antonio to the tune of more than $28M in economic impact – and we are only one year old!”

In addition to the direct impact on the arts and economy, the Tobin Center has cultivated a thriving community around service. Beyond the 55 employees, over 590 volunteers have contributed over 36,000 hours of service to the Tobin Center.

Also, Their dynamic children’s programming provides artistic educational experiences for children throughout San Antonio.

We know that arts education is extremely impactful to students, because:

  • Students show improved academic performance1 in reading and math, as well as better grades and higher test scores
  • Students who have access to arts in or out of school tend to also have better workforce opportunities and be more civically engaged2
  • Students who have access to arts in or out of school have higher rates of college enrollment and attainment2
  • Students who have access to arts in high school are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree 2

At the recent 1-Year Anniversary Open House, students learned about symphonic instruments at the SA Symphony “petting zoo.”

By providing programming like this, the Tobin Center is not only impacting the arts and cultural community of our city, but also contributing to positive outcomes for our students, and thus our future employees, employers, and community leaders.

It’s momentum like this that will help propel us to 2020, and beyond.

So, happy 1-year Anniversary to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and congratulations to the San Antonio community for creating a vision and supporting it with time, energy and enthusiasm to see it start to become a reality!



References (if you’re curious)

  1. Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts, Kevin F. McCarthy | Elizabeth H. Ondaatje | Laura Zakaras | Arthur Brooks, Commissioned by the Rand Corporation (2004)
  2. “The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth; Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies”, National Endowment for the Arts (2012)