BY BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE THAT SUPPORTS THEM
In August, Art Alliance Austin announced the appointment of Asa Hursh as its new Executive Director, Holly McDaniel as its new Director of Development and Wendy Prindle as Director of Operations, as well as several new board members.
Hursh talked to Stefano Fabrizio Darold about the new mission of ACA, and it’s next event. Big Medium will kick off the two weekends of the East Austin Studio Tour with its highly-anticipated fall fundraiser DUE EAST!, a group show taking place on Thursday, Nov. 6 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the old Nuevo Leon building, located at 1501 E 6th St., Austin, Texas 78702. DUE EAST! will be the first opportunity to explore and purchase the work of over 300 EAST artists featured in the group exhibition. It will also be an opportunity to get a copy of the East Austin Studio Tour catalog: a free, full-color book that serves as both an invaluable reference of the artcommunity and a beautifully designed collector’s piece. Tickets to the event are $50 in advance and $65 at the door. For an additional $25, attendees can purchase an Official EAST Survival Bag including a limited edition EAST T-shirt, a Big Medium canvas tote bag and other surprises. For advance tickets, visit east.bigmedium.org.
In addition, Art Night EAST is the official preview kick-off to the East Austin Studio Tour. This unique Austin event includes four art spaces and their with gallery directors and artists. Each site will be paired with fine tastings, drinks, and sounds and includes a bus service to take you through the city and deliver you to each site.
Following the kick off event, the 13th annual East Austin Studio Tour will take place onNov. 15-16 and 22-23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekend. EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers: the local artistsand artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin‘s vibrant, dynamic culture.
The event features over 400 local artists in over 150 east side locations. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, explore unique spaces and support local businesses as well as learn about artists‘ tools, techniques and inspirations.
Established in 1956, Art Alliance Austin is refocusing its mission to engage people with great art by supporting Austin’s most promising visual artists and arts organizations to build a vibrant, informed community. The Austin focused non-profit promotes and funds visual art by commissioning art works and producing a diverse series of cultural experiences that bring artists, art buyers, collectors, and the public together while generating economic benefit for the entire city. Art Alliance Austin produces the city’s second oldest outdoor festival, Art City Austin, the largest art marketplace in central Texas, as well as produces or underwrites several events during the year such as the Art Night series, PechaKucha Nights and theDowntown Holiday Stroll in partnership with the Downtown Austin Alliance.
“Austin’s evolving art community and economic climate require a more focused strategic direction at Art Alliance Austin, and I am honored to lead that effort,” said Asa Hursh, Executive Director. “Our organization has been around for over 50 years and has had an incredible history. With the evolving landscape of Austin’s art scene, and contemporary art in general, Art Alliance Austin is creating an organizational model that better supports the evolving needs of Austin. By developing new methods of discovering and experiencing art, we will foster opportunities that broaden and strengthen the region’s art community.”
“The Art Alliance has been a steward of the Austin art community for decades and, in recent years, a great partner with Big Medium and the East Austin Studio Tour,” said Shea Little, Executive Director of Big Medium. “Art Alliance has helped us reach new audiences and expand our programming, and we cherish this partnership and the many more the Art Alliance has made with other artists and art organizations. Austin is in an exciting moment with so much growth and renewed energy for the visual arts. Asa is an ideal leader for the organization, and I look forward to seeing what he will do for Austin and the Art Alliance.”
At its core, Art Alliance Austin provides platforms for artists and art organizations to showcase their work – from festivals, to gallery tours, to speaker series, to public art and exhibitions. This will serve to broaden and deepen the connection between the Austin arts community and its audience. Because the Alliance does not have a dedicated space to program, it is flexible to support various types of works and match those works with different locations and audiences, from the novice to the erudite.
Art Alliance Austin’s current board, which consists of both long-standing and brand new members includes David Bodenman, Highland Resources (Chair), Jada Garrison, The University of Texas at Austin (Vice Chair), Berkeley Claxton, St. David’s HealthCare (Treasurer), Ryan Bennett, Frost Bank (Secretary/Parliamentarian), Kim Eckert, IBM, Sharon Kronberg, philanthropist, Grover Bynum, Austin Technology Council, Steve Maddox, Austin High School, and Joel Sumner, National Instruments.
“Art Alliance Austin is developing a new and unique model and one that we believe reflects the current needs of Austin’s art scene,” said Hursh. “Our organization functions as a promoter, an advocate, and producer of the arts. The model focuses on the back of the house – administration, event planning, development, and marketing. Curation comes from outside of the organization, from a team of local talent that isn’t on the staff but is brought on board for various projects and events. We believe this model allows us flexibility as well as the broadest reach and support for the community.”
The Art Alliance is currently working on many events over the coming months including Art Night EAST on Friday, Nov. 14, the Downtown Holiday Stroll in partnership with the Downtown Austin Alliance on Saturday, Dec. 6, and next year, Art City Austin taking place on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 in downtown Austin on Cesar Chavez, near the Seaholm redevelopment project.