Gabriel Quintero Velasquez is a native of San Antonio, Texas. Born at downtown Baptist Memorial Hospital in 1965, Velasquez was raised on the Southside of San Antonio where he graduated from Harlandale High School and was first employed at Kelly Field Annex (Kelly Air Force Base) as a machinist in the Machine Shop Support Unit at Building 375. In 2001 Velasquez received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He trained as an activist under Albert A. Pena, Jr. at the Mexican American Unity Council in the early 2000’s. Velasquez is a design and planning consultant, a disc jockey, a seasoned community organizer, cultural catalyst and visionary.
Velasquez served as March Event Coordinator for the annual Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice in San Antonio, Texas from 1998 to 2017. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an immigration reform activist in San Antonio, Chicago, Washington DC, and Distrito Federal Mexico where he was as a Delegate to the First Parliament of Migrant Mexican Leaders Living Outside of Mexico. Velasquez served as a Capacity Builder in the Annie E. Casey Foundation Initiative – Making Connections San Antonio. Velasquez minored in Radio, Television, and Film at San Antonio College (SAC). He began a long college radio stint at KRTU 91.7FM in the 1980s leading the Jazz/Fusion format back to back with New Age Music pioneer Monte Martinez (Apple Records). By 1990 Velasquez served as Jazz Music Program Director for KSYM 90.1FM, earning the #1 public-polled rating (SA Magazine) for best Jazz Radio Programming (1 of 4 San Antonio Jazz radio programs in San Antonio, Texas). Velasquez designs small buildings and art constructs. He is primarily a creative visionary. He designed the controversial “La Casa Rosa” on Dewey Street, a carwash on Nogalitos Street titled “Xicano Baroque – Mi Placazos”, conceptually designed San Antonio’s first teen-library component of the San Antonio Public Library System, and has a long career history in the offices of various architects, including Killis P. Almond, FAIA, Preservation Architect, where he apprenticed to journeyman. Velasquez created the earliest conceptual design for the Museo de Artes in the Historic Market Square (an impetus for the transformation of El Centro de Artes). In 2000 he took studio with Luis Lopez at Armando and Santiago Sanchez’s Cabeza de Piedra Taller. In 1998 he commenced a five year annual series of Chicano activist reunions and symposia combined with large scale Xicano Fine Art exhibitions for the San Antonio Central Public Library titled: Treaty Resolve Conventions, which centered on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and its impact on the urban indigenous Mexican-American community. Velasquez served as a member of the San Antonio Museum of Art’s Education Committee in the late 1990’s. Nominated by the San Antonio Museum of Art, Velasquez is an early recipient of the City of San Antonio Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission Award for Leadership in the Cultural Arts.
Velasquez organized for the San Antonio “1% for Public Art” movement in 1996 and was a facilitator for the “Arte Es Vida” campaign. In 2007 he received an invitation from Mayor Phil Hardberger to join the Witte Museum in creating a city-wide arts celebration: 2008 Inaugural Luminaria. Velasquez served as Co-Chair for Contemporary Art and was called Luminaria’s “pinch hitter” by the San Antonio Current. In 2008, Gabriel Quintero Velasquez and renowned artist Jesse Trevino created CALO and mobilized “Una Noche en La Gloria – Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone”, a capacity building strategy for Latinos artist struggling in the creative economy. Currently Velasquez and Trevino have undertaken the creation of the City of San Antonio Veterans Monument at Elmendorf Lake. Titled “La Ofrenda”, the 100-foot high monument is a fusion of deconstructivism and sculptural barrio archetypes. Velasquez refers to its hybrid style as Xicano-Supermodernism. From 2006 until 2018, Velasquez served as the founding Vice-President of the Cesar Chavez Legacy and Educational Fund (CECLEF), which annually awarded grants to college-bound students from underserved populations. In 2014 he received CECLEF’s “Distinguished Service Award”. The same year, he was also recognized nationally as a “Community Hero” by the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Velasquez served on the City of San Antonio Cultural Arts Board (CAB) as the representative for Council District 3 until his “removal from his position amid his protest of a city proposal to recreate a controversial mural on the facade of the historic Mission Drive-In marquee.” (1) Velasquez served the City of San Antonio as the District 3 Appointee to the Board of Adjustment, the City’s only quasi-judicial entity as authorized by state law and local ordinance. He currently serves on the Westside Creeks Restoration Oversight Committee of the San Antonio River Authority charged with community oversight of the high profile 14 mile ecosystem restoration of Alazan, Apache, Martinez, and San Pedro Creeks that were disrupted by the 1951 federal flood control project known as the San Antonio Channel Improvement Project (SACIP). In September of 2015, Gabriel Quintero Velasquez was appointed to the newly created Mayor’s Task Force on Preserving Dynamic & Diverse Neighborhoods, also know as the San Antonio Housing Commission. Currently, Velasquez is the Executive Director of three 501c3 non-profit organizations, Avenida Guadalupe Development, Inc., Avenida Guadalupe Zarazamora Senior Housing, Inc. and their corporate HUD 202 PRAC sponsor Avenida Guadalupe Association, Inc.
Gabriel Quintero Velasquez is Founder and Organizer of Una Noche de La Gloria – Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone. (1) Josh Baugh, Express News