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Carver’s Jo Long Passes

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Some people leave such an indelible mark that their loss is a palpable absence for all who knew them. Jo Long Williams was one of them. In the days since her passing on Tuesday October 12, 2021 at the age of 71, so many individuals across so many different communities have paid tribute to her. While it is hard to find words to adequately honor someone whose life and legacy continues to have such far reaching impact, some that have been used most frequently this past week to describe her are visionary, legendary, beacon, generous, fierce advocate, force of nature, uncompromising, brilliant, activist, humble and so many more. 

The impact Jo Long Williams had in shaping the cultural landscape of our City and beyond cannot be overstated. Many have spoken of her visionary and transformative role as an arts administrator and advocate, of her supporting the early work and careers of so many artists, of bringing up a generation of cultural leaders and laying the framework for so many other cultural arts institutions to come into existence and thrive. Almost all have spoken of her fierce love of and commitment to community, representation, inclusion and equity. In the world of the arts, Jo Long is indeed legendary. However, this is just one aspect of her identity. She was also beloved by her family, circle of friends and faith community. Her life, legacy and loss are felt deeply by so many. 

Jo became the first executive director of the Carver Community Cultural Center in 1976…a position she remained in until 2000. Under her leadership throughout those two decades, the Carver Community Cultural Center became globally recognized as a leading cultural institution trademarked by Jo’s visionary multicultural programming and uncompromising commitment to equitable access for all. These hallmarks continue to be the guideposts by which the Carver carries on the work today.

Prior to coming to the Carver, Jo began her career at Southern Methodist University (where she had received her MFA in Music History) as founding director of the Community Center for the Arts Association from 1972 to 1976. Her legacy of service continued after her tenure at the Carver as well when she went on to serve as an administrator at the San Antonio College Christian Student Center.

She was preceded in death by parents, Samuel Aaron and Marie Thompson Long, grandmother Willie B. Williams and grandfather Clark Thompson. She is survived by husband Woodrow Williams and stepson Ryan, siblings Sammye Shelvin (Charles), June and Michael Long, niece Adrienne Scales (Brandon) and nephew Samuel Shelvin (Amber).

A memorial service in celebration of her life will be held in the theatre named in her honor at the Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 N. Hackberry St., San Antonio, Texas 78202 on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 11:00 a.m.



In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Carver Community Cultural Center or Church of Christ Student Center. 

Memorial Service:     

Carver Community Cultural Center – Jo Long Theatre

226 N. Hackberry

San Antonio, Texas 78202

Saturday, October 30, 202111 AM

Art

Breonna’s Garden Launches Intimate VR Experience at SXSW

Notable Art Curator Lady Pheønix Collaborates with the Family of Breonna Taylor to Bring Virtual Safe Spaces to SXSW, in a new VR Experience

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Notable Art Curator Lady Pheønix Collaborates with the Family of Breonna Taylor to Bring Virtual Safe Spaces to SXSW, in a new VR Experience

Last year, in solidarity with Breonna Taylor’s family, artist and curator Lady Pheønix developed Breonna’s Garden, a revolutionary framework for veneration through augmented reality (AR). Now, less than a full year later, the project is providing virtual safe spaces to larger audiences through fully immersive VR. The development of the project began after Lady Pheønix learned that Ju’Niyah Palmer, (Breonna’s younger sister) was receiving death threats while publicly grieving her sister’s murder on Instagram. After speaking with Ju’Niyah, it was apparent that she not only needed a safe space to process her grief; but so did entire online communities that supported Breonna.

The Garden has evolved from a healing tool for Ju’Niyah and her family into a healing tool for the nation. It’s a sanctuary where Breonna’s name can be said without negation. Following successes at Tribeca Film Festival, the Perez Art Museum Miami, the Augmented World Expo where Breonna’s Garden won Best Societal Impact Award.

SXSW is an opportunity to introduce Breonna’s Garden to international audiences at the intersection of art, tech, social justice, education, entertainment, film, gaming, and more. This special place is a room inside the family’s home filled with mementos and portraits of Breonna, all of which honor her life.

Lady Pheønix notes that the intention of Breonna’s Garden is to keep the legacy of Breonna Taylor in Bloom. She remarked, “I trust that audiences will connect with the greater truth, that Breonna deserves justice. I hope this experience softens hearts and that audiences are receptive to the massive amount of love present in such a way that they stand in solidarity heart to heart with Breonna’s family and the rest of the globe.”

Breonna’s Garden was created in partnership with a number of creatives who lovingly volunteered their time like legendary Australian artist Sutu who led the project as its art and technical director. Breonna’s Garden invites those who would like to experience the original AR version ahead of SXSW to download the app here. View the SXSW schedule here https://schedule.sxsw.com/2022/films/2054475. Now is the perfect time to say her name, louder.

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Dee Dee Bridgewater

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A Multi-Faceted Career in Jazz, Blues and Soul

Triple GRAMMY® Award Winner, Tony Award Winner, jazz singer and celebrated chanteuse, Dee Dee Bridgewater, brings her well-seasoned artistry to the Carver on Saturday, February 5, 8PM.    Having ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, Bridgewater has put her own unique spin on the standards of jazz music, taking intrepid leaps of faith to re-envision the genre. Not only has she bridged jazz with other music forms, she pays homage to the city of her birth and the rich Memphis music scene that formed her musical roots. In her most recent album, Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready, she captured the magic and history of Blues, R&B, and Soul classics. As a result, the album sounds and feels like Memphis as she embeds her own fierce passion, originality, and incredibly dynamic interpretation of Jazz.

Bridgewater earned her first personal experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band and throughout the 70’s, she performed with such jazz notables such as Max Roach, Rollins, Dexter Gordan, and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into the pop world in the 1980’s, she relocated to Paris and began to turn her attention back to Jazz. Signing with the Universal Music Group as producer, Bridgewater released a series of critically acclaimed titles beginning with, Keeping Tradition in 1993. Ever the fearless voyager, explorer, pioneer, and keeper of tradition, Bridgewater embodies Jazz on an entirely different level.

For as long as she has been a musician, she has also been an activist.  She assisted impoverished children with a free breakfast program and served as a good-will ambassador for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.  In 2018, Bridgewater and her daughter/manager Tulani Bridgewater-Kowalski created The Woodshed Network to connect, support, educate, and mentor women in jazz.

Tickets can be purchased at the Carver Box Office (210) 207-2234, 226 N. Hackberry or via Ticketmaster.com at (800) 745-3000. The Carver Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and two hours prior to curtain. Tickets are $40. For more information call the Carver box office at (210) 207-7211.

COVID PROTOCOLS

It is highly recommended that all patrons and staff wear a mask for entrance and anytime they are away from their seats or not socially distanced. Masks are available upon request.  We will continue to enforce our safety initiatives including strict cleaning procedures until further notice.

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Art

Hiplet Ballerinas

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Hip Hop en Pointe

The much-anticipated dance troupe, Hiplet Ballerinas,performsat the Carver on Saturday, January 22, 8 PM.  Specifically designed to make ballet accessible to all, Hiplet™ is a fusion between classical pointe technique, Hip-Hop, African, Latin and other urban dance styles to create a never-before-seen type of dance.   Hiplet™ was created by Artistic Director Homer Hans Bryant in the early 90s with the goal of mixing ballet with popular songs familiar to the audience while simultaneously maintaining its classical roots. The artform has since blossomed and performances incorporate music and dance rooted in communities of color.  The company has been featured and collaborated within global companies such as Mercedes Benz, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, New York and Paris Fashion Week, W Magazine, Versace, and Old Navy. Featuring 10 dancers, The Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center is excited to partner with ECE Touring to bring its touring show to audiences everywhere.

Tickets can be purchased at the Carver Box Office (210) 207-2234, 226 N. Hackberry or via Ticketmaster.com at (800) 745-3000. The Carver Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and two hours prior to curtain. Tickets are $35. For more information call the Carver box office at (210) 207-7211.

In addition, Hiplet Ballerinas will perform before school-aged children as part of the Carver’s Youth Matinee Series, Friday, January 21, 11 AM.    The Youth Matinee Series epitomizes the Carver’s mission of making the arts available to the community through a series of enriching and exciting performances designed to engage a youthful audience. Matinees are free and open to the public

COVID PROTOCOLS

It is highly recommended that all patrons and staff wear a mask for entrance and anytime they are away from their seats or not socially distanced. Masks are available upon request.  We will continue to enforce our safety initiatives including strict cleaning procedures until further notice.

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