Designs on a Better World
Keep Austin beautiful with this guide to local arts and culture charities
If Austin's most important commodity is culture, then these local arts and culture nonprofits are its guardians. Each one of these organizations is on a mission to keep Austin artists, musicians, dancers, and others thriving while keeping Austin's creative culture thriving. Check out the charities below, learn about their missions, and find out how to get involved — and give back.
Mission: For over 30 years, allgo has worked to create and sustain queer people of color activists, groups, organizations, and allies through artistic expression, promoting wellness, and grassroots organizing. Allgo celebrates and nurtures vibrant queer people of color communities in Texas and beyond by supporting artists and artistic expression; promoting health within a wellness model; and mobilizing and building coalitions among groups marginalized by race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, and sexual orientation/sexual identity in order to enact change.
Get involved: Contact allgo to sign up to become a member and make a pledge for a monthly or annual donation.
Big event: Statewide Queer People Of Color Activist Summit
Mission: Anthropos Arts connects low-income youth with professional musicians to cultivate confidence, integrity, and life-skills through musical instruction and mentorship. Students get free instruction and mentoring from some of the best artists in the country, performance opportunities at Austin’s seminal venues and events, and exposure to a wide range of music as both audience and performer.
Get involved: Learn how to volunteer with Anthropos Arts or host an event. For sponsorship opportunities, go here.
Big event: Anthropos' annual showcase as well as performances during SXSW and ACL Music Festival.
Art Alliance Austin
Mission: Established in 1956, Art Alliance Austin’s goal is to strengthen Austin’s artistic community through experiences. Through festivals like Art City Austin and projects like Hello Lamp Post, Art Alliance Austin dedicates itself to giving artists and art organizations platforms for showcasing their work. Flexibility and inclusiveness is a key part of Art Alliance Austin’s mission and one of the reasons the organization has continued to evolve so successfully. Working behind the scenes on administrative things like development, event planning, and marketing, Art Alliance Austin helps connect artists and audiences. In doing so, it generates impressive economic benefits for the entire city.
Get involved: A donation to Art Alliance Austin directly supports the arts and helps them reach their goal to support Austin galleries and artists. For volunteer info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for current opportunities.
Big event: Artbash
Austin Food & Wine Alliance
Mission: The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community through grants, educational programming, and events. Guided by an all-volunteer board of directors and committees made up of culinary- and community-minded professionals, the alliance's commitment is to promote Texas food, wine, spirits, and craft brews and to increase appreciation of Texas' culinary impact.
Get involved: Volunteer here or donate here.
Big events: Austin Food & Wine Festival, Live Fire!, and Official Drink of Austin.
Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation
Mission: Formed in 2010, the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation (AGLPF) is a 100-percent volunteer-run organization dedicated to managing and organizing Austin's annual PRIDE Celebration and Stonewall Rally, with a mission to educate, provide resources for, and connect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in Austin.
Get involved: Volunteer here.
Big event: Austin PRIDE Parade and Festival
Mission: The 11th largest classical ballet company in the country, Ballet Austin creates, nurtures, and shares the joy of dance through classically innovative arts and arts education programs. Within this purpose, Ballet Austin maintains a strong commitment to the creation of new work, incubation of emerging talent, and integration into the community. It also runs the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, which serves over 9,000 people of all ages and skill levels with year-round dance and fitness classes, and is home to one of Austin's top-ranked Pilates centers. The company's outreach initiatives serve 31 Central Texas school districts and 200 other area nonprofits.
Get involved: Donate, volunteer, or become a season-long supporter with a variety of different subscription packages.
Big event: Fête
Beyond the Grade
Mission: Beyond the Grade's mission is to provide music education and life skills to at-risk students in Austin area schools. BTG aspires to give kids opportunities to learn from local music industry professionals, while letting the students' interests guide the curriculum. They are currently providing music education for underprivileged kids as an after-school program in area school districts. The immediate goal is to improve the quality of the education and classroom experience, as well as expand into other schools and locations.
Get involved:Volunteer or apply to join the board.
Big event: Beyond the Grade's Annual Spring Benefit Concert
Mission: Black Fret's mission is to empower musicians to create and perform new music. For centuries, classical music has had the benefit of community financial support. Black Fret is an innovative evolution focused on supporting popular local music. It is a new model of arts patronage anchored by three main initiatives: providing grants and mentoring to exceptional musicians, gathering to see Black Fret nominees perform in unique locations, and building an endowment to allow for more grants and more performances.
Get involved: Volunteer or join as a member.
Big event: Black Fret Ball
Mission: Chula League was formed in 2005 to support the arts, art education, and artful outdoor spaces in East Austin. It works to ensure that the arts and public outdoor spaces play a valued role in the educational, economic, and cultural wellbeing of East Austin neighborhoods. through a variety of projects and events, including the arts-mentoring program Little Artist BIG ARTIST.
Get involved: Become a mentor or become a member.
Big event: Cherrywood Art Fair
Mission: Creative Action is an arts-based youth development organization that provides hands-on, fun, creative learning programs in classrooms, in after-school settings, and in the community. As one of the largest youth arts organizations in Central Texas, Creative Action reaches more than 20,000 youths each year.
Get involved: Volunteer here or become a member.
Big event: Big Hair Country Fair
Mission: HAAM, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, provides access to affordable healthcare for Austin’s low-income working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness. Since its founding in 2005, HAAM has helped almost 5,000 local musicians access a range of healthcare appointments, including dental work, doctor visits, prescriptions, psychiatric counseling, eye exams, out-patient procedures, specialist referrals, and hearing screenings.
Get involved: Become a HAAMbassador or donate here.
Big event: HAAM Day
Kids in a New Groove
Mission: Kids in a New Groove provides Central Texas children living in foster care with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through private music instruction. Since 2009, KING has empowered over 600 youth by offering free, in-home music lessons.
Get involved: Volunteer, donate gently used musical instruments, or make monetary contributions here.
Big event: Music Matters Luncheon
The Sims Foundation
Mission: The Sims Foundation provides access and financial support for mental health and addiction recovery services to Austin music industry professionals and their families. The foundation was formed in 1995, following the suicide of local musician Sims Ellison. Sims connects hundreds of music professionals with counseling, psychiatric, and addiction treatment services each year.
Get involved: Volunteer or donate here.
Big event:Heart of the City