$ 1 Million Donation Opens New Doors For San Antonio Art Program

Say Si will be relocating to a new location thanks to the $ 1 million grant from the Bexar County Commissioners.

SAN ANTONIO – Say Si received a million dollar care package from Bexar County Commissioners. The grant will help the after-school arts and media program take hold in the largest space of its existence.

“It’s funny because I grew up in the western part of San Antonio, the neighborhood we’re going to be moving into,” said Stephen Guzman.

Guzman, chief executive of the nonprofit, said he was hungry for artistic opportunities. He fed his appetite in college.

Students don’t have to wait that long now. Guzman said their tuition-free offerings stray from their origin in the historic King William district on South Alamo Street.

“This is a large empty warehouse that we will transform into a state-of-the-art community center for the city of San Antonio and to the delight of young people.”

The new 98,000 square foot facility will be located at 1310 S. Brazos Street. That’s a feat in space and expansion for the 27-year-old program.

“In 1994 our organization started because there was reduced funding for the arts in public schools,” Guzman said.

Say Si provides free supplies, guidance and support to young creatives. The Bexar County Commissioner’s $ 1 million investment is a welcome infusion, especially at a time of tight budgets.

“This type of investment in an arts organization, right now, shows us that this city cares about young people and about the future of San Antonio,” Guzman said.

The organization generally accommodates up to 200 students in its building. COVID-19 has pushed the creative harvest they are providing into the virtual realm, where around 150 students are participating.

Richie Combs is one of the students benefiting from the Say Si difference. He is preparing to graduate summa cum laude from the North East School of the Arts.

Combs’ mother told him about the program over two years ago. He has been addicted to Say Si ever since.

He describes it as a place where his creativity can roam in a non-academic environment.

“So there’s no similar limit to what you want to create,” Combs said.

The 18-year-old is part of Say Si’s HIVE or House of Innovation and Video Ecology program.

“There are a bunch of computers that you can use with programs like Adobe and others like animation and encoding,” he said. “There is a ton of similar video equipment for film production and the visual arts is still around.”

According to the artist, his mood for documenting art is cool, silly and colorful. His talent brought him to the Kansas Art Institute in Missouri. He said Say Si had helped.

Guzman said Say Si is here to nurture the careers of future artists and community contributors.

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Kayleen C. Rice