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Austin's Pump Project Art Complex Propels Artistic Enrichment

By Kelly Church

Just off the Colorado River in Austin, TX is a 501(c)3 organization serving the art community. Known as Pump Project, the nonprofit provides working studios and gallery facilities to distinguished and up-and-coming artists. Together, through a shared space, these artists can experiment and display these pieces for the community.

Funded partially by the city's Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, Pump Project Gallery Director Rebecca Marino believes spaces like these provide artists the unique opportunity to advance their careers in the arts and foster a sense of creativity within the community.

"Pump Project provides over 30 affordable working spaces for local Austin artists," Marino says. "These artists range immensely and work in a variety of mediums- metalwork, ceramics, glassblowing, painting, [and more]. Along with these studios, we also provide a gallery space where we feature rotating monthly exhibitions highlighting emerging Austin artists."

With 22 customizable studios for artists of all mediums, backgrounds and experience levels, Pump Project provides private studios and shared studios. With the studio space comes certain member benefits, including access to a community kitchen, computer, wireless Internet and multiple hand and power tools to make their work truly unique. Within the Pump Project walls, artists have all the necessary resources to dive into their art careers in a comfortable environment surrounded by support.

Pump Project's largest event of the year is the annual East Austin Studio Tour, a two-weekend event that incorporates all of the galleries and art spaces on the east side of town. The event attracts thousands of people each year. Additionally, every month, Pump Project hosts opening receptions where community members can visit the gallery and see each artists' work.

Every other month, the organization participates in the Breakfast Studio Crawl with Big Medium, an opportunity for the community to not just visit the gallery, but see each artists' working space as well.

"We have essentially built a cultural hub where artists are able to come and work, take advantage of our facilities and be apart of a community," Marino says. "I cannot begin to express how important it is that towns provide centers like this for artists. These resources are not only valuable, but necessary for the survival of the Austin art community. They nurture the creative energy and cultural enrichment that so many people move to Austin specifically for."

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