Concrete Artisans Leaving Lasting Imprint in San Antonio

SAY Si, where art is spoken.

Z. Smith ’12

Conventions come and go. San Antonians barely notice their arrivals and departures. But professional artisans are getting a head start to ensure we remember the Concrete Decor Show, February 20-24.

This past week, they have been working with students to transform bare concrete around the entrance of SAY Si into a major display of the artistic side of the craft. A “river” will soon spill out of the building and over the entry ramp:

From the double-glass doors of the entrance, a micro-topping in vivid tones of blues and greens will progress down the sidewalk and descend a vertical wall to terminate in the landscaping. A team of national trainers from Miracote and Butterfield Color, aided by local concrete contractors, will install an earth-toned stampable overlay and add pattern and texture adjacent to the river mural. SAY Si students will add the finishing touches. They will illustrate native flora and fauna along the faux river bank, and permanent inscriptions of words the students find inspiring will punctuate the surrounding areas.

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Concrete cosmetology – 5,000 square feet of it – will continue at SAY Si during the conference itself. According to the show coordinators:

Project teams, pairing industry experts with workshop participants, will create the ultimate makeovers of old, worn and unattractive concrete surfaces. Each area presents a building problem or unique challenge that the team will solve using products donated by leading architectural and decorative concrete manufacturers….

Inside SAY Si, workshop participants will apply a polyaspartic coating in the public gallery where the works of SAY Si students are exhibited. Old concrete floors in several studios where classes are held will be renovated. Two different techniques will be used: grinding and polishing an existing concrete slab and resurfacing another area with an innovative new polishable overlay technology. A special metallic epoxy coating will be applied on the floor in the Black Box theater….

Board member Susan Toomey Frost can barely contain her excitement over this major focus on a sometimes overlooked craft that is part of San Antonio’s heritage. Jon Hinojosa, artistic and executive director of SAY Si, is thrilled over the makeover because:

This project will not only showcase creative concrete master craftsmen, but allow our students to participate and learn a new art form.


SAY Si is a family connected through art.

S. Ramos ’11

Update on February 22, 2012:

In addition to the ongoing workshops dramatically changing the look of SAY Si, Thom Hunt and Mark Whitten are leading a workshop sculpting a realistic-looking Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur at Booth 1309 at the Concrete Décor Show at the Convention Center.

Members of RAT, or Rock Carvers, Artists and Themebuilders, built the basic form in advance of the workshop, during which participants learn how to sculpt the details and add texture. 

After the conference, Mikey, the 10 ½ foot tall dino measuring 29 feet from nose to tail, will be a gift destined to become a landmark on the south side of the Witte Museum adjacent to an entrance to Brackenridge Park.

Update on February 23, 2012:

Click here to see a slideshow of SAY Si’s new waterfall fountain and flooring and the birthing of the dino, actually named Tally, destined for the Witte.

3 thoughts on “Concrete Artisans Leaving Lasting Imprint in San Antonio”

  1. I have found that decorative concrete has become a great way for the concrete contractor to express their Artistic abliities. Many of us get into careers & trades quite by accident & maybe don’t know our abilities when we first get into the trade. I am glad to see that the concrete industry has been steadily expanding into the decorative field.
    It offers the artistic contractors a Great avenue for their abilities. The quality of the work I have seen in the seven years I have been a part of the industry has been amazing and continues to facinate me each and every year.


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