San Antonio's storied nonprofit SAY Sí is saying hello to a whole new neighborhood. Beginning in late 2020, the creative organization will operate from a 98,000-square-foot former West Side warehouse.
SAY Sí is an award-winning organization that provides creative, artistic, media, and leadership training for San Antonio youth. Its programs provide year-round, long-term, tuition-free arts education and range in topic from theater directing and filmmaking to ceramics and sculpture. It also teaches young people the basics of selling their work, an increasingly critical skill for working creatives.
The organization began in 1994 as part of the King William Historic District. What began as a small after-school organization for 12 students in that downtown neighborhood has since grown to more than 200 students from 70 local schools.
In 2000, SAY Sí moved into the Blue Star Arts Complex and spent the past two decades amassing space to accommodate its growing programming. But, with growth comes growing needs, and on November 19, SAY Sí announced it is growing into a massive complex at 1310 S. Brazos St. to help better serve its students — and its new neighborhood.
"With the organization's long track record of success and its strong commitment to community partnerships, we are excited about the endless possibilities of this move into our historic West Side,” said Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales via a release.
The jump from the 24,000-square-foot Blue Genie space to nearly 100,000 square feet will allow SAY Sí to enhance its free programming with three brand-new creative programs: journalism, culinary arts, and digital music composition. The former industrial space will also allow for an on-site garden and neighborhood restaurant, which will be an extension of the new culinary arts track and part of its community outreach efforts.
Tasked with designing San Antonio's newest creative enterprise are design firm Gensler and landscape architects MP Studio. In keeping with the history of the space, the building will utilize traditional industrial features while integrating "interchangeable murals that will feature collaborative student and community works," among other key features.
“In SAY Sí's 25 years, we have been committed to meeting the needs of our community,” says executive director Jon Hinojosa in a release. “As we have reached capacity in our current spaces, a move into a larger building in the West Side seemed like the perfect fit for us. It's where our community is and it's where we belong."