SAY Sí spreads ‘gospel’ of youth arts education - My San Antonio

Jon Hinojosa is executive director of SAY Si. As artistic and executive director of SAY Sí, Jon Hinojosa frequently is invited to speak at conferences, something he is glad to do.

“I call it the gospel of SAY Sí,” said Hinojosa, one of the founders of the King William-based program, which marked its 20th anniversary last year.

In 2013, SAY Sí — or San Antonio Youth, Yes! — was one of eight programs singled out as “a national model for out-of-school-time arts programs” by the Wallace Foundation, a New York-based philanthropic organization. The distinction helped further the program’s reputation across the country, but in San Antonio Hinojosa sometimes still has to explain what it is.

“We’re sort of like a hidden gem in this city,” he said. “A lot of people drive right by us every day and have no idea of what’s happening in these spaces.”

SAY Sí offers year round, tuition-free, multidisciplinary arts training to middle and high school students. Young artists can hone their skills in media arts, visual arts, theater and game design in preparation for college and professional careers.

Currently the program has 220 students on-site. It reaches an additional 3,500 through its Artists  program staffed by alumni.

About 2,000 students have been through SAY Sí since it began in 1994 with eight kids from Brackenridge High School in a modest space at the Blue Star Arts Complex. It now occupies a 26,000-square-foot building on South Alamo Street with state of the art multimedia studios, exhibition spaces and a black box theater.

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