Sherry Wagner

XXXXXXXXX – San Antonio Fair, Inc. 1966 – 1968
Founding director of The Woman’s Pavilion at HemisFair ’68

In March of 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting with Mrs. Wagner to hear some of her memories of the planning, construction, operation of HemisFair ’68. Below is a transcript of my conversation with Mrs. Wagner.

How did you become involved in HemisFair ’68?

Back in 1965 I had just sold my novel and was in San Antonio to give a lecture about the book at Trinity University. At the time I was working setting up children’s programs for the Fort Worth Arts Museum among others; the man I studied under by the name of Paul Baker worked at Trinity and invited and I gave a speech about Children, families and creative activities. In the audience were some people from San Antonio Fair, Inc. including Allison Peery who ran the Fair’s Architectural & Planning Office. Shortly after they called me and said they were looking for someone to plan youth & family activities along with youth oriented area at the Fair, and I accepted. Along with this they were looking for people with strong writing skills to help with proposals, promotional materials, speeches, etc…

Were you involved in creating any specific pavilions?

Yes, I was involved with three different pavilions.

As I mentioned earlier I was hired to create youth activities which resulted in the creation of the youth pavilion called “Project Y” located near the Texas Pavilion

Another was the Alexander Girard exhibit called “The Magic of People”, where I was mainly a writer.

The other was the Women’s Pavilion located near the U.S. Pavilion, where I served as the founding director.

Were you involved in the BIE accreditation process for HemisFair ‘68?

Yes, at one point a delegation from the Bureau of International Expositions came to inspect our progress and see a sample exhibit. I was in charge of creating and concept exhibit called “Horsemen of the Americas”.  At that point we also had one building completed and we showed them how it would work as and exhibit. I went and collected images and worked with a guy in California on the exhibit, I wrote material for each horseman with music from each one composed to move the same beat of a walking horse. The visit was mainly to show that we could do exhibits which were cultural, multidisciplinary and engaging in order to keep our accredited status as a World’s Fair.

How did the idea for a Women’s Pavilion come about?

With in my first month at San Antonio Fair I was asked for ideas for women to be involved in the Fair. I mentioned that there was nothing yet planned for the fair specifically about women and their achievements in society. I took a look at previous World’s Fairs and discovered that anytime women were involved the paid for it themselves. So I worked up a proposal for a pavilion at the Fair and created a structure to raise the funds for it.

The idea was approved and I served as the founding director for the first few months. We were granted some funds from the Fair and I got the ball rolling on funding, concepts, etc… Once the leadership was formed they elected an Executive Director. I also worked on raising the funds and once we showed we were successful we were given the green light to formally create an organization which resulted in the Women’s Pavilion at HemisFair ’68.