As the city population booms, it can become increasingly difficult for artists in Austin to cut through the din. A new workshop series from the City of Austin Cultural Division wants to help artists "Get Noticed!"
In addition to providing cultural contracts to artists, the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division offers a variety of tools to help support the creative community — including educational workshops and professional development tools. The upcoming "Get Noticed!" workshops are part of this free programming.
Kathleen Stimpert, PR and marketing specialist for the Cultural Arts Division, is leading the three-part series, and Krissi Reeves is lending her experience as a publicist, performing artist, and former venue owner who now serves on the City of Austin Arts Commission.
"The goal of the workshops," says Reeves, "is to provide actionable plans, valuable insights, and handy tools for succeeding in the often murky and confusing worlds of PR and marketing. Empowering individual artists and arts organizations with PR and marketing skills will only help to elevate the creative community as a whole — and that's what we're aiming for."
Reeves moved to Austin in 1998 "hopelessly naive," but over time, "the city delivered me an invaluable gift: a nurturing creative community that enabled and inspired my artistic curiosity. That gift — that is so unique to this city — still exists here in abundance."
Like so many creative folks in Austin, Reeves worked in bars and venues for many years to supplement her income as a writer and performer. Music and performing arts venues were at the center of her world for a decade and that experience gave her the "opportunity to regularly witness the successes and struggles that artists face on both sides of the curtain." She understands the commitment it takes to create and produce a show. But, the work doesn't stop there: You have to hustle and fill the seats. And maybe even work a bar shift after the final bow. And that's just the artist's journey.
Reeves was a co-founder of the popular East Austin performance venue The North Door. That experience and perspective fuel her work with the Cultural Arts Division. "Venues have their own unique set of challenges and having worked in them for so long, I have an especially empathetic approach to supporting Austin's arts and music venues.
As the city grows, it has become more challenging for artists to connect with the new generation of Austinites, and Reeves sees affordability as the most challenging issue facing the arts community. Despite these challenges, Reeves remains "shameless" in her optimism about Austin's artistic future.
"I see generations of Austinites working together to continually create innovative and impactful art. I see audiences discovering a revived sense of curiosity and support for the arts. I see the community and leaders continuing to find ways of ensuring that Austin's legacy as a creative mecca lives on. I know all of that takes work. I also know Austin's creative community to be populated with remarkably industrious badasses, so we should be good."
So far there has been a tremendous response to the workshops, and they fill up quickly. "There was a hunger for this information and the amount of initial interest has confirmed that these workshops are necessary," Reeves says. "We are very excited to offer the information and resources to the community."
The second event, slated for September 5, has reached capacity. The final workshop, an arts media roundtable, is scheduled for October 4. More information can be found on the City of Austin Cultural Division website.