Originally published in MySA
Her job is all about energizing downtown San Antonio with fun, but Liz Burt doesn’t play around when it comes to championing for her city.
As Centro San Antonio’s Director of Urban Activation + Play, Burt is in charge of connecting the downtown area to engaging and innovative experiences. Some of her recent work includes trash talk hijinks in which motion detectors were attached to garbage receptacles in a park to cheer on passersby who tossed their garbage. During the holidays, downtown streets looked like a winter wonderland thanks to a surprise project that doused the area in faux snow flurries.
Burt is the woman who will make you fall in love with downtown San Antonio. Read below for more on her role and her downtown favorites.
MySA: When you meet people, how do you explain your role?
LB: As downtown San Antonio’s nonprofit placemaking organization, Centro San Antonio works passionately every day to create a more beautiful, welcoming, playful, and prosperous downtown in the spirit of San Antonio. We are dedicated to serving our community with courage, creativity, and empathy. We love to think big, have fun, get the right stuff done, and be good to others. My role as Director of Urban Activation + Play allows me to be an idea, place, and people opportunity steward who by creative, collaborative and playful intervention, delivers experiences and activations to inspire + catalyze connection, fun, and impact on the community I love and serve.
MySA: How long have you been working for Centro?
LB: I have been with Centro for almost 7 years and during that time I have had the opportunity to work on a ton of very rewarding projects including overseeing the award winning Activate Houston Street Initiative, hosting the 2018 International Downtown Association Conference, delivering the first ever snow drive thru and countless other special activations from pumpkin patches to urban spaces tours. My previous work experience is kinda interesting, as I was Social Media Manager for Mayor Ivy Taylor and Creative Director of Marketing, Events, & Sales for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in San Antonio for almost a decade. I think both experiences provided some invaluable and unique traits and skills, including hosting, creative digital engagement and stakeholder management. It’s also been crazy how some of the connections have carried over, for example, one of my best friends who I met while serving at the Drafthouse, Brandy Garcia, owns two businesses in Downtown and currently serves as the Tenant Association President for La Villita. I also remember renting a theater to then District 8 Council Candidate Ron Nirenberg who hosted a screening of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. That was the first bug planted that I wanted to do more for the San Antonio community. It just reinforces the divine timing and connections that initially felt uncertain but in hindsight were all leading me to the center city.