An outreach program attached to the owners of a north San Antonio hotel offered a unique event May 26 to better connect local arts organizations and their supporters.

Estancia Cares, attached to the Estancia Del Norte Hotel, hosted representatives from 11 San Antonio-area arts-centric nonprofits in a gathering at the hotel.

According to one of the event organizers and publicists, CE Group co-founder Lainey Berkus, the event was a sort of speed dating networking activity designed to better acquaint groups, such as the Magik Theater, San Anto Cultural Arts Center, Las Casas Foundation and Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, with each other and with local arts fans.

“These groups are eager to share their stories with all of you about who they are and what they do. They want to know who you are, too, and find ways to collaborate,” Berkus said.

Charles Leddy, chief executive officer of Presidian Hotels and Resorts, owner of Estancia Del Norte, formerly a Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, spoke at the May 26 event.

Leddy said Estancia Del Norte and Estancia Cares are both entities that are friendly to local nonprofits and charities, especially arts organizations.

Leddy said Estancia Del Norte strives to offer meeting space to arts groups, adding that preserving and promoting the arts is particularly vital to a historic city such as San Antonio.

“San Antonio has a cultural unique flavor that is recognized internationally. We need to double down on the arts,” Leddy said.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg also spoke at the event. He described San Antonio itself has a work of art and that “art is very important in our lives in critical ways and important moments.”

“Art also helps us to interpret life,” Nirenberg added.

Nirenberg said while many local nonprofits work to create all kinds of art, visitors from around the world come to San Antonio and experience the city’s arts and heritage.

Nirenberg praised groups such as Estancia Cares for engaging arts organizations and providing them with a platform to boost their visibility.

“It takes the work of programs such as Estancia Cares to interact with our communities and develop a genuine connection with art,” Nirenberg said.

Krystal Jones, interim director of the city’s arts and culture department, said the May 26 event was about those efforts to further improve and promote San Antonio’s arts community and making connections.

“It takes our government leaders to say arts are important. It takes our citizens and private businesses and the work of all of these nonprofit partners to not only employ creative workers, but make sure art is accessible to all of our residents and our visitors,” Jones said.

Another speaker at the event, Visit San Antonio President/CEO Marc Anderson, said he took the top job at the local tourism and convention organization largely because the city and its culture “moved” him and his wife.

Anderson said he takes seriously his role and that of VSA to share the story of San Antonio and its history and culture.

“The stories we can tell to an international audience—from Condé Nast Traveler to Vogue to Food and Wine—they are so inspired when we talk about San Antonio,” Anderson said.

Anderson said preserving and boosting the arts is also important because the arts help to drive tourism, which plays a significant role in San Antonio’s economy.

According to a 2017 study, data shows that San Antonio’s creative community, which includes museums, performing arts, independent artists, and visual and culinary arts, has a total economic effect of $4.8 billion citywide.

“That tax revenue funnels down to our public schools. It goes to our fire department and our police department. It also funnels millions of dollars [to our arts organizations] to help us do better and to do more,” Anderson said.