About Us

History. Culture. Creativity.

Celebrate creativity and joy of the human spirit presented at the Carver.

The mission of the Carver Community Cultural Center is to celebrate the diverse cultures of our world, nation and community, with emphasis on its African and African-American heritage, by providing premier artistic presentations, community outreach activities and educational programs.

History & Mission

For over 75 years, The Carver Community Cultural Center (“The Carver”) has served as the San Antonio Eastside’s foremost gathering place of cultural exchange and performance arts. It was originally erected in 1918, as a community center for African-Americans. By the 1930s, the building was repurposed as the Colored Library and renamed the Carver Library and Auditorium, in honor of Dr. George Washington Carver. From the 1940s through the Civil Rights Era, prominent African-American entertainers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong played at the Carver. However due to desegregation, the Carver fell into neglect by the early 1970s.

Carver Community Cultural Center has over 100 years of history of serving San Antonio.

In 1973, the City moved to have the Carver demolished, but community members galvanized in an act of civil disobedience, effectively using their bodies as human shields to protect the building from bulldozers. Under the ownership and management of the City of San Antonio (CoSA), the Carver was renovated and reopened in 1977, as the Carver Community Cultural Center. It now operates as a special project of the CoSA’s Conventions Sports and Entertainment Facilities Department.

Nationally-Acclaimed Performances

Our Board

The mission of the Carver Community Cultural Center is to celebrate the diverse cultures of our world, nation, and community, with emphasis on its African and African-American heritage, by providing challenging artistic presentations, community outreach activities, and educational programs. The Carver Development Board is a 501©3 organization whose mission is to undertake fundraising activities and to provide financial, programming, and advisory support to the Carver Community Cultural Center.

Officers

Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D., Chair

Marcheta P. Evans is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Our Lady of the Lake University. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Counselor Education and Supervision specializing in Student Affairs, Administration in Higher Education and Human Resource Management. She has worked in various leadership roles in higher education for the past twenty-five years and has served in numerous professional and community roles. She has worked with United Way, Catholic Charities, Communities in Schools, AVANCE, Baptist Children Home Ministries, Communities Organized for Public Services (COPS), Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and serves as Chair of the MLK Commission Scholarship committee.

She is a Past President of the American Counseling Association and a recipient of numerous professional awards and recognitions including the National Diversity Council Multicultural Leadership Award, American Counseling Association Fellow, University of Texas Leadership System Fellow, Texas Counselor Educator of the Year.

Dr. Evans has authored numerous articles and book chapters, focusing on issues of diversity, multiculturalism, women’s issues, and leadership and presented over a hundred workshops and seminars in these areas nationally and internationally. Her international work includes extensive time in the African country of Malawi working with educators and counselors on literacy initiatives sponsored by USAID with additional work in Cuba, and Jamaica.

Della Guidry, Vice Chair

Della Guidry is the President and Owner of AlliedPRA Destination Management San Antonio since January 5, 2000, and on August 1, 2009, she expanded her ventures to open AlliedPRA Austin. Both offices reflect the high standards and consistent delivery of impeccable service that has made AlliedPRA a leader in the industry. While servicing her clients and community, Della works with many CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies along with networking with celebrities. Della currently serves on the board of the San Antonio Tourism Council and serves as Vice Chair of the Carver Development Board. Among her many accomplishments, she has been married to Theo Guidry II for 37 years; they are proud parents of three children, Cloe, Neichelle, Theo III and three grandchildren.

Sandra Pratt, Secretary

She is currently the President of Shiny Penny Property Management Group and has been in Real Estate for 15 years. Prior to Real Estate consulting, Sandra served in the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Officer. She provided broad intelligence support to Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command and Special Operations Command. In addition to her service on the Carver Development board, Mrs. Pratt currently serves as a board member of the Stone Oak Toastmasters and What It Takes To Succeed (WITTS), a non-profit mentoring organization designed to empower individuals by facilitating discovery and development of personal skill sets required to achieve success. She holds a degree from the University of Texas San Antonio. Sandra and her husband Bryan have lived in San Antonio for 24 years and have three children.

President Emeritus

Board Members

Tracey D. Blakes

Tracey D. Blakes recently retired from CPS Energy after having served as the Director of HR Services for CPS Energy, since November 2011. Prior to working in the Human Resource field, Tracey served 10 years as a member of the United States Air Force where she proudly served two tours in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. In her personal time, Tracey is most dedicated to the civilian career transition and advancement of veterans. She regularly speaks to groups of veterans who are leaving the military and are seeking career guidance. Ms. Blakes serves on the board of the Texas Diversity Council and is a member of the National Forum of Black Public Administrators (NFBPA). Tracey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Administration from St. Leo College and a Master’s from Webster University. She and her husband Edwin have one daughter, Lauren.

Dr. Cheryl E. Davis, DMD

A special EPA Research Fellowship from the US Environmental Protection Agency was an added incentive to attend Prairie View A&M University to pursue a Master of Science degree in Environmental Toxicology. Cheryl became a research assistant in the Department of Microbiology at UTHSCSA and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; later pursuing dental school. She was commissioned in the USAF, and upon after being discharged worked as an adjunct Professor at Northwest Vista Community College and a dentist at the Correctional Health Services/Bexar County Jail. Cheryl opened her dental office in 2006. Cheryl is a member of several organizations, America Dental Association, TBW and AAUW, board member of Planned Parenthood South Texas, Women’s Global Connection and Chrysalis Ministries. Cheryl Elise Davis graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with BA in Biology/Chemistry.

Rick Goff

H. Rick Goff was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1981. While on active duty, Rick served in many duty stations world-wide and earned many awards and decorations for outstanding performance. Rick also served as Vice President of Operations for Six Flags Theme Parks from 2001-2010. He oversaw world-wide operations for over 35 theme and water parks and managed a staff of over 10,000 full and part-time employees. In addition, Rick was Vice President of Facilities, Real Estate, Security, and Critical Systems for Sirius XM Satellite Radio from 2011-2016. Rick served as President of the local American Business Clubs (AMBUCS) chapter in Edmond Oklahoma. Mr. Goff has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and is a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. Rick is currently in semi-retirement and living in San Antonio with his wife Carol V. Goff.

Yasan Gooding

Yasan Gooding, PhD, is a lead information systems specialist with Valero Energy Corporation, Inc. Prior to joining Valero Energy Corporation, Inc., he was a global configuration analyst for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive. Yasan has been in several pivotal positions as technologist and consultant for Fortune 500 companies. His research interests cover several areas in technology and education. He has authored and co-authored several articles on data warehousing technologies in trade publications and on-line magazines. Yasan currently serves on the School of Excellence in Education, a charter school board. A life-long member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Yasan believes in community service and reaching back to help others, and promoting the arts to all communities. Yasan received his PhD (2001) and M.S. (1993) from Iowa State and a B.S. degree from Saint Augustine’s College. Yasan is married to Dr. Velma Gooding; they have 3 children.

Jo Ann Harris

Jo Ann Harris was employed by Alamo Community College for 25 years as Professor in the Department of Nursing Education; she is currently retired. She also retired from the United States Army as a Major. She has served on the San Antonio State Hospital Volunteer Service Council, and the Texas Volunteer Service State Council Board. Currently she is a volunteer for Bexar County Detention Center Match/Patch Program, Texas Peer Assistance for Impaired Nurses and Alpha Tau Omega Senior Opportunity services. Ms. Harris holds an Associate of Arts from Schreiner College, Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from St. Mary’s University.

Dionne Roberts

Dionne Roberts President and CEO of the TDA family of companies, which focus on increasing the capacity of communities to provide quality affordable housing and community development programs. As President and CEO, she leads TDA’s overall strategic development. Prior to TDA, Dionne worked in the nonprofit, local government and national policy arenas developing and implementing integrated approaches to community and economic development needs. Ms. Roberts is an active member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. In 2014, Ms. Roberts has launched SA Noir, a local website and newsletter dedicated to promoting activities potentially of interest to the San Antonio African-American and diaspora community. Dionne has a Master’s of Science in Organization Development from American University, School of Public Affairs and numerous professional certifications.

Nishell Robinson

Nishell Robinson, a dedicated banker for 20 years, currently serves as a Business Banker at Comerica Bank. Nishell works with personal account holders as well as small business owners to determine their needs. She specializes in developing and deepening full relationship banking to include personal and small business loans, lines of credit and depository solutions for her clients. She is very committed to her clients and long term client relationships that she’s developed over the years. Nishell also serves as a Board Member for Ella Austin community center on the Finance Committee. Nishell has a very strong since of self and is very committed and involved with her church and community events in the San Antonio market. Ms. Robinson has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Wayland Baptist University.

Billy Ray Sheppard

BillyRay Sheppard, saxophonist living in San Antonio Texas has been performing since the 80’s. His musical roots run deep with earliest experiences in Blues, R & B, Reggae, Latin, Tejano and Country bands. It’s his love for music that keeps him grounded and his love for jazz that keeps him performing. He has shared his talents on stage with Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson, Roy Hargrove, The Dirty Dozen Band, Johnny Bush and many more. With his rich, warm soulful tone he has made a name for himself with his saxophone. In addition to performing in concerts, BillyRay is available as a soloist, or band performer (leader of The Main Event Band of San Antonio TX) for private functions including conventions, weddings, private parties, fashion shows etc.

Maria M. Hazlewood-Williams

Maria M. Williams is the owner of Majestic Events by Maria, LLC., a full-service event management company. Maria started her company while still attending St. Phillips College where she majored in event management. In addition, Maria served as Director of Community Events for District 2 and is a champion for small business and has spoken on several occasions on behalf of Liftfund to its investors and The Women Business Center. She was invited to accompany CEO Janie Barrera to Washington D.C where she spoke at The Community Funded Economic Development Conference on the importance of allowing people the opportunity to live the dream of owning their own business. Maria has served as Fundraising Chair on the Carver Development Board since January 2015. One of Maria’s main responsibilities is to fundraise for the annual Cavalcade where all proceeds collected are donated to the Carver’s education programs.

Sponsors

The Carver Community Cultural Center wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation for the kindness shown to us by the following corporations, organizations and foundations. Their support enables the Carver to continue offering the quality programming for all to enjoy.

  • A Dream Weaver Florist
  • Alamo Beer Company
  • ARTS San Antonio
  • AT&T Foundation
  • Avista Products
  • City of San Antonio
  • Department of Arts and Culture
  • City of San Antonio, Department of Convention and Sports Facilities
  • City of San Antonio, Department of Human Services
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Greehey Family Foundation
  • Guillermo’s
  • H.E.B. Helping Here; H.E.B. Tournament of Champions
  • Kiolbassa Smoked Meats
  • KONO FM 101.1
  • KRTU FM 91.7
  • Lifshutz Foundation
  • Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation
  • Muñoz & Company
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Performance Network
  • New England Foundation for the Arts
  • David Robinson Foundation
  • Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts
  • San Antonio Current
  • San Antonio Express-News
  • San Antonio Food Bank
  • San Antonio ZULU Commission, Inc.
  • Spare Parts
  • Starbuck’s
  • Texas Commission on the Arts
  • The Big Bib BBQ
  • The Chop Shop Produce Co.
  • The Mighty Group
  • The Rivard Report
  • San Antonio Tricentennial Commission
  • Trinity University
  • Tucker’s Kozy Korner
  • USAA Foundation A Charitable Trust
  • Valero Energy Corporation
  • Water 2 Wine
  • Wittig’s Office Interiors

2017-18 Cavalcade Sponsors

  • City of San Antonio Department of Convention & Sports Facilities
  • Liftshutz Foundation
  • San Antonio ZULU Commission, Inc.
  • Valero Services Inc.