Best Youth Arts Organization: SAY Si

Since 1994, SAY Sí has ​​been a lifeline for young people who otherwise might not have had an arts-focused education. Its fruits are evident in professionals and first-generation college graduates in San Antonio and beyond who have built successful and impactful careers. But it’s only just begun.

The nonprofit moved last year to a new headquarters on the West Side, which will eventually allow it to more than double the number of students it serves. Like many, SAY Sí’s future plans have been altered by the pandemic and accompanying funding issues. But he stayed the course and completed the first phase of construction of his new home in 2021 thanks to grants from the Charles Butt Foundation and Deborah and David Rogers. The opening of temporary studios allowed vaccinated students to resume in-person programming while virtual options first launched in 2020 remained available to others. His original dreams for the West Side space have changed a bit, but president and chief innovation officer Jon Hinojosa says they’re still achieving their goals with the help of federal grants and local funding. Next phases of construction will add a culinary arts kitchen, a journalism-focused new media lab, and a digital music production program.

Art has always been the focus at SAY Sí, but Hinojosa says they also focus on equipping students, especially those from economically disadvantaged areas, for college and beyond.