A history of the Women's Pavilion project
The San Antonio Women's Pavilion was a feature of Hemisfair '68 and opened on April 6, 1968. The Pavilion marked the first time in history that such a structure was devoted to the contributions of women to the world. The vision fo the pavilion was a foward looking place for gathering and education with the theme of "Women's Changing Role in a Changing World."
The pavilion was designed by noted architect Cyrus Wagner who combined San Antonio's tradition of masonry and handmade craftsmanship with a modernist understanding of space and form. The lighting was modulated with skylights, clerestories, and wooden grills.
During the 1968 Hemisfair, the Women's Pavilion featured painting, pottery and various arts and crafts activities. In addition to the arts, the Pavilion also focused on science, business, government, industry, sports, home and family. The 12,000 square foot building features four levels and was financed by $5 charter memberships and $1 student memberships.
Over five thousand women representing 345 Texas towns, 49 states and 14 foreign countries became members of the women's pavilion. In addition to the membership fees, the Pavilion received a $25,000 donation from Hemisfair and an Urban Renewal grant to help complete the project.
Unfortunately, years after its construction the Women's Pavilion vision was neglected and the structure was eventually vacated. Even today, the wall displays with handprints of the original creators evoke the determination of the Women's Pavilion. The new resolve to bring this place back to life is strong - once more it will be established as a central place that celebrates and encourages women's business, cultural and educational endeavors.
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