In the media

In The Media

CENTRO IN THE MEDIA

In 2020, Centro San Antonio surpassed 50,000 followers on social media platforms and generated 45.8 million impressions. In addition to marketing our services, the downtown neighborhood, and our new initiatives, we communicated vital information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and creating new campaigns that encouraged recommend health practices and supported local businesses and communities through positive messaging. Our stories included personal stories about the Ambassadors, the joy and inspiration of new art, our advocacy of small businesses and people experiencing homelessness, the resilience and passions of our community, and new disinfecting equipment with a ghostbusters vibe! It is awesome.

Si Se Puede SA


Spearheaded by our Vice-President of Urban Planning, our “Si Se Puede SA” campaign started as pop-up art pieces adorning downtown trees, businesses, and landmarks. It quickly grew into a community-generated movement with homemade hearts, billboards, news stories, and more.

2.8 MILLION
ONLINE IMPRESSIONS

$56,000
IN EARNED MEDIA

Cuídense SA

Coming off the heels of our Si Se Puede SA campaign, we pivoted our messaging to encourage adherence to recommend health practices while also delivering unexpected moments of wonder in the downtown neighborhood. The Cuidense SA campaign utilized the stylings of local artist Isabel Ann Castro to spread awareness of social distancing, wearing a face mask, and washing hands while creating memorable, shareable, and “puro” memes. We arranged for a pop-up activation in partnership with local artist Ana Fernandez to distribute complimentary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and paletas from her iconic Chamoy City Limits truck. The mobile experience enhanced social distancing, showcased the artwork of Isabel Ann Castro, provided needed resources to the community, and created unforgettable moments for those spending time Downtown for whatever reason.

1.6 MILLION
ONLINE
IMPRESSIONS

$51,000
IN EARNED
MEDIA

Planning & Advocacy

2022 Bond

We are excited to serve again as conveners and facilitators for the 2022 Bond. From late September to early December of 2020, we met with a sampling of downtown stakeholders to develop a preliminary project list that Centro submitted to COSA Public Works. The 2022 work is led by Tri-Chairs Veronica Mendez, Pete Cortez, and Rene Garcia. In June 2021, the Catalytic Projects Committee and the Tri-Chairs narrowed our proposed project list to ten. The committee was then asked to complete a survey that will help advance the assessment of which projects are likely to significantly impact the greater Downtown and, more broadly, the City of San Antonio. As we work through the process, we communicate frequently with the City of San Antonio and are on track to publish the committee’s recommendations in August 2021, championing the committee’s work all the way to the May 2022 vote.

Broadway Cultural Corridor

Championed by Centro back in 2017, the $42 million dollar bond project was designed to transform the urban core stretch of Broadway Street from a car-centric commercial corridor into a multimodal, complete street. This ambitious plan, paid for by Centro, was developed with business and community stakeholders who voiced support for reduced vehicle lanes, buried utilities, wide sidewalks, bike lanes and connectivity, unified wayfinding, and lots of trees. Now nearing completion, Centro assists in seeing this project to the finish line, working with public and private stakeholders to deliver this transformation and ensure the construction of the voter-approved design. We published a resolution encouraging the development of a comprehensive micro-mobility plan. In 2021, a branding process for the Broadway Corridor was launched and a place brand was completed in the Summer. Progress on the lower and upper Broadway Corridor continues, with an area of primary focus being the Avenue B Bike Lanes, which is nearing consensus on design. The CoSA Public Works team continues to meet with stakeholders as infrastructure work continues south, relaying info and addressing concerns.

Zona Cultural

Zona Cultural celebrates the story of San Antonio through music, food, culture, and the arts. A state-designated cultural district, Zona is home to many of the city’s most historic and iconic institutions – and is today poised for extraordinary transformation. With significant new public and private investment in the district, Centro recently unveiled the ‘Zona Cultural Design Guidelines.’ The result of a long-term stakeholder visioning process, these guidelines will infuse the district’s unique character into the public built environment, offer private investment direction, and provide cohesion and a high-quality design aesthetic echoing Zona’s distinctive cultural context.
At the end of May 2020, protests broke out nationwide against police brutality and support of Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Our community marched in solidarity for many of the following days and weeks. Our organization stood alongside the peaceful demonstrations, offering a welcome hand or cold paleta to ease the Summer heat. Through the passion of local activists, including Antonio Lee, we were able to collaborate with San Antonio Poet Laureate and activist Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson to produce the massive street mural entitled “Elevated Melanin.” The poem covered the streets surrounding Travis Park. While most protests in San Antonio were relatively peaceful, some businesses downtown sustained damages. The Main Street team jumped into action with the Repair and Protect Grant Program to offset costs small businesses incurred to either board up to protect their businesses or repair damaged storefronts. Through this program, our team distributed $26,826 in grants to 13 businesses. Our May press conference led to local and national media attention, including national FOX News! Despite things getting heavy and divisive in the media, we have generated great coverage based on positive, heartfelt, constructive stories.
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MATT BROWN

PRESIDENT AND CEO

Matt is the lucky guy that gets to lead a team of passionate placemakers who work every day to make downtown San Antonio more beautiful, playful, prosperous, and welcoming. Since starting his career as an attorney, Matt accumulated 25+ years’ worth of experience in the private sector by founding play and creative companies; consulting for start-ups and Fortune 500s in strategy, innovation, and leadership; and serving as president and C-level executive for Scholastic, Klutz and LeapFrog, among others. Directly prior to moving to San Antonio, he was the Economic Development Director and Interim Land Use Director for Santa Fe, NM.  He and his daughter have visited 15 state capitals on their way to all 50! 

Elizabeth Burt

DIRECTOR OF URBAN ACTIVATION + PLAY

Liz is a passionate underutilized space evangelist known for collaboration matchmaking + play based troublemaking (snow, pumpkins, and Parisian mimes included). She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy studying Public Administration (#BirdsUp)! More recently, she oversaw the award winning Activate Houston Street Initiative, a placemaking action plan to reinvigorate the historic pedestrian corridor in the heart of Downtown, which is recognized as a Best Practice in Public Space Management by the International Downtown Association, for which she is also a proud Emerging Leader Fellow.

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Connie Garza

TACTICAL PLANNING COORDINATOR

Connie is a native San Antonian with roots planted deeply on San Antonio’s Southside. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Passionate about building strong communities, Connie loves acting as a connector to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and people to help each other reach their goals and work together. She works inbetween the Cultural Placemaking team and the Mainstreet Economic Development team, bringing vibrancy and support to urban core businesses to make downtown the place to be. When not at work, you can usually find her at the local plant nursery buying another plant, exploring new cafes/breweries, and spending time with family.

Laura Aldrich

MEMBERSHIP & STORY CATALYST

Laura (She/Her) has a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin where she fostered a deep love for communication, critical theory, & experiential spaces. Her heart lies in community, communication, & creative spaces for connection & collaboration.

She’s found much of her life’s direction in sharing her love for fitness & yoga alongside her deeply lived passion for social equity & women’s equality.

Laura has years of experience in developing & carrying out creative, strategic project management, marketing & membership-based sales as well as large-scale events & leadership training.

Outside of work she can often be found biking downtown with friends, adventuring with her sweet pup on the Greenway & casually perusing the cheese aisle at Central Market. She finds simple pleasures in unexpected live music, mochi, freshly bought pairs of matching socks & toppling the patriarchy.

Priscilla Lopez

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Priscilla or “P.Lo” as her teammates affectionately call her, has 20 years of corporate administrative experience. Priscilla attended The University of San Antonio with a focus on Business Administration. In her role as office “fixer,” she handles everything from communications and relationship management to IT sleuthing. On weekends you can find her enjoying a Truly poolside. She lives the vegan lifestyle and is  a proud member of the Peleton community.

Jacqueline Lucio

DIRECTOR OF PID OPERATIONS

Jacque is a longtime downtowner with a deep passion for community service. She oversees Centro’s Clean & Safe and Homeless Outreach services, which aim to create a more beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable downtown. For nearly two decades, Jacque has lived in downtown San Antonio and has been actively involved in the transformation of the urban core. Through her work with nonprofits, local government, and news media, she’s continually focused on championing more sustainable, diverse, and equitable communities. Jacque has led efforts to support asylum seekers, served as communications director for City Council District 5, and served in public affairs role for Clear Channel Outdoor San Antonio. Jacque studied Mass Communications and Mexican-American Studies at UTSA.

Matt Sirgo

DIRECTOR OF STORYTELLING

Matt graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 with a Dual Major in Media Strategies and Honors Arts & Letters with a minor in Italian (Benvenuto a tutti!). Matt oversees the marketing, public relations, and digital content for Centro. After sharing the story of Downtown San Antonio on digital channels, he enjoys creating TikToks about LGBTQ+ media. His mug graces a Fiesta Mural on the St. Mary’s Strip just north of Downtown. You can’t miss it. 

Andi Rodriguez

VICE PRESIDENT OF CULTURAL PLACEMAKING

Andi is a long-time urban champion and leads Centro ‘people projects which tell our stories and bring us joy, such as Centro’s Art Everywhere and Zona Cultural. Serving on the Leadership Council of Urban Land Institute, she is a former city Planning Commissioner, Founding Chair of the Hemisfair Conservancy, Co-founder of Power of Preservation/PROM, former Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and immediate past Chair of Leadership San Antonio. Andi considers herself a servant leader; she has an MS in Architecture/Urban Planning, and enjoys advocating for the unifying power of art, history, and public space.

Jakob Villareal

STAFF GRANT WRITER

Currently studying for a B.A. in English at A&M San Antonio and Majoring in Writing & Rhetoric, Jakob is a key player in securing additional funding for Centro’s many projects and initiatives. Jakob acts as a matchmaking service for Centro’s projects and Initiatives. Using his intimate knowledge of our goals and ideals, he seeks to find the perfect match of project and potential funding organization. When he’s not busy fundraising Jakob also fills the roll of Game Master, host the team’s various gettogethers and keeping the party going with games galore. He spends his free time painting miniatures, and is an avid Dungeons and Dragons & Table Top RPG enthusiast.

JanIe Garza

OFFICE MANAGER

Janie is a native of Corpus Christi, TX and has made San Antonio her home since 2012. Her 15+ years’ experience allows her to serve a broad range of functions that allow the organization to operate efficiently, including, accounts receivable/payable, record management, information technology, office management, and assisting with human resources. Outside of the office she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting local art museums, and enjoying a German beer in Southtown.

Michael Cirlos

JEDI CAMERAMAN

Michael began his studies and volunteer work at Webster University Thailand with a focus on international relations and Buddhism. After returning to San Antonio and graduating from UTSA, Michael began photographing and telling the stories of people in Downtown San Antonio to help connect and increase awareness of our vibrant urban culture. Michael’s work has appeared in several news media organizations, and has produced digital content for small- and large-scale marketing campaigns for Red Bull, COSA Department of Arts and Culture, World Heritage Office, National Park Service, and others. Michael is a former Pecha Kucha San Antonio Speaker, best-selling author at Trinity University Press, entrepreneur, and adventurer.

Sarah Esserlieu

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Sarah is a passionate urbanist who has spent the majority of her career on downtown revitalization efforts. Downtown is the best part of any city where you can find the finest history, culture, life, and beauty. Sarah has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of California, San DiegoSarah enjoys visiting small local businesses, enjoying foodie culture, cooking, hiking, and visiting the cities of the world. 

KANDICE PERKINS

FINANCIAL DIRECTOR

Kandice is a Sunnyvale, CA native and has made San Antonio her home since 2014She graduated from University of Argosy in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and continued to complete her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix 2020. She has worked in downtown San Antonio for years, bringing 15+ years of accounting experience to the organization and has been tasked with promoting and developing the city’s urban core. When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, managing her family’s businesses, and enjoys cooking and baking.  

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs 

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