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Arts & Culture

Say Si Exhibit Challenges Corporate Mindset

A new Art Exhibit at Say Si opens Friday with an interesting and challenging theme. First, a reminder: Say Si is a non-profit after school arts program for young people. Stephen Guzman explains their programs cover four artistic disciplines.

"Visual Arts, Media Arts, Theater Arts and New media."

Students from these four disciplines decided earlier in the year to focus on a subject for their series Stories Seldom Told. This once-yearly series is chosen from subjects that students feel just don't get effectively addressed by school, the media or their parents. 

"This year students are exploring the role of Corporate America on their bodies. As consumers we are a little bit enslaved," Guzman says.

Several rooms are filled with sophisticated arts using marketing language and techniques to turn the tables on marketers.  In one room a wall is filled with pictures of students with a wide variety of bodies. Young peoples' voices are piped into the room, citing the pressures they feel to be within certain norms.  

"Tall...white...sophisticated... perfect teeth!"

Student art details how business affects them in very personal ways. One exhibit uses mock stained-glass windows to suggest that many are possessed by a religious devotion to products.  

"Each window will represent a different industry, whether it be the food industry, the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry.  And there is a place for people to actually kneel down in front of these stained glass windows."

These various projects involving marketing, body image and consumerism left students asking themselves questions.

"What are the products we consume? Who are we as consumers? The clothes that we buy, the food that we eat. What does that mean in the bigger picture? Where does it come from?"

Say Si's South Alamo Street studios are full of people hanging artwork and getting ready for Friday's debut.

"It's going to be from 6 to 10 p.m.  Some of the installations will have some performance art aspect to it. We also have our Middle School Theater Company will be performing throughout the night as well."

The exhibits are free and on display throughout July.

Find more on Stories Seldom Told here.