As a part of the city’s Imagine Austin development plan (a sweeping set of initiatives for how Austin will be built over the next 30 years), the Austin Playhouse and Artspace Projects, along with the City of Austin, are conducting an artists and creatives survey to assist in the building of a new mixed-use development in East Austin.
The development is intended to act as affordable housing for artists and as pseudo-storefronts for creative organizations and businesses.
Organizers are especially eager for artists and owners of creative enterprises to participate in the survey, which “will influence the project’s location(s), size, number and type of creative spaces, design features, special amenities, programs and affordability,” they said in a statement.
The information acquired from this survey, which ends January 10, will also affect how these projects, which are co-sponsored by the city, are funded.
The development, about 35-40 units that will be part of the new $4 million Austin Playhouse development in Mueller Town Center, is intended to act as affordable housing for artists and as pseudo-storefronts for creative organizations and businesses.
Planned units are similar to Mueller’s S.M.A.R.T. housing initiative, where 25 percent of the new homes being constructed will be reserved, and made affordable for, families with lower than the area’s median household income.
This push for affordable housing in the arts sector is line with other recent city initiatives to combat Austin’s surging population and gentrification problems. According to recent U.S. Census Bureau data, Austin ads new residents every day, and experienced the ninth-largest population growth in the country in 2011. And as we’ve previously reported, Austin’s traffic congestion ranks as the third worst in any urban area in the country.
Local artists and smaller operations are faced with the challenge of competing the city’s rapid growth and the kind of big names it attracts. Apple and Samsung have recently planted flags in town to build new facilities, and Austin’s festival circuit — spanning from Austin City Limits Music Festival, to the ever-growing SXSW and now Formula 1 — continues to draw huge crowds and headlining artists. Art shows, galleries and museums still have their place, but for creatives looking to gain a foothold in the Austin market, the barriers to entry are mounting.
Are you an artist or the owner of a creative business or organization? You can take the Artist Market Survey here. The survey closes January 10.