The collective at the Thornton Road Studios, located by ABGB at Oltorf and Thornton Road boasts an important victory for artists trying to live and work in Austin. In February, the Austin City Council decided 10 -1 in favor of denying a request for a zoning change, which would have razed the studio complex in favor of a mixed use development (read more condos). It seems that every available parcel of land in South Austin is being gobbled up, transforming lush, green tracts on Del Curto Drive and Clawson Lane into crowded, condo tunnels. Mayor Steve Adler has launched the Austin Music and Creative Omnibus Resolution which seeks input from the creative sector on keeping Austin artist friendly, stemming the tide of increasingly unaffordable housing and venue loss. In short, a battle for the soul-y of our city and I don’t just mean our “brand.” This is one of a series of posts about the summits, which The Austin Chronicle reported on in April.
In addition to the creation of a Cultural District downtown on Red River and the thinkEAST living and working development, I would encourage cultivating creative corridors that are already developing organically in South Austin (SOCO, SOLA and SOCHACA) and in North Austin (BURO). Rather than building new units, it might be wise for the city to reclaim and upgrade apartments and offer grants to venues (like Strange Brew) that share an intention to grow collaboratively with other vendors or partners like ACC.
The West and East Austin Studio Tours are a great way to get an impression of just how many artists are meeting the affordability challenge in pursuit of their passion. I offer a few in the gallery below who have made Thornton Road Studios their creative home. Featured artists include: Creative Side Metal Works, Wyss Bronko – Drugparty Collaborative, Cindy Corkill, Rita Marie Ross, Jacob Colburn, Mindy Graber, Sandy Muckleroy, Christine Gilbert and Greg Davis.