There’s a space on the East Side of San Antonio where all boundaries cease to exist, dreaming is encouraged and leadership is exemplified. Situated in an area where high rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, and low-rates of academic achievement exist, Martinez Street Women’s Center's Girl Zone serves as a hub for young girls to escape for a dose of empowerment through art.
ARTS explored their latest exhibit, “Girls Eye View: An Eastside HerStory” displayed at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The exhibit serves as a validation for the girls and their families.
Based on the girls’ history, background and culture, the exhibit aims to guide the audience through the challenges of dreaming big while overcoming adversity. Using written, spoken, performing and photographic art, it delivers insight into the world of each girl and their perspective, acting as a reminder that generations evolve throughout the years as the world changes. The Martinez Street Women’s Center developed Girls Zone to introduce art as a means where expression can reside.
“Art really is part of the breathing life of the Martinez Street Women’s Center, and we know the impact art has made in our lives, in our young lives growing up, in our professional lives, so we want to give that opportunity to the girls,” said executive director of Martinez Street Women’s Center Andrea Figueroa.
The program strives to defy any misconception the community may have about the East Side and the products of their environment. These young girls learn leadership development, gain self-esteem, health and nutrition, STEM and academic enrichment, along with arts and culture, offering a well-rounded agenda to shape young leaders emerging from San Antonio.
“We want to make sure the girls have the opportunity to express themselves to critically think about the challenges that are happening in their neighborhood, the challenges that are happening in the world around them, and know that through art they can use their voice to talk about the things that are bothering them, the things they want to change, and what they want their future to look like,” said Figueroa.
The “Girls Eye View” exhibit marks the end of summer for the girls, essentially capturing a series of moments throughout their journey, displaying their lives in hope of promoting a sense of togetherness.
This inspiring episode of ARTS airs Thursday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.