25 Years of Life Changing Art in Austin
From 1997 to now, Creative Action uses art to transform lives and communities
Creative Action changed art in Austin, passionately bringing creativity to as many people as possible. From its beginning, the organization’s path was not straight forward, but blazing none the less. Twenty five years later, the following is clear:
- Whether you’re a student, teacher, employed artist, or member of the community, art can change your life for the better.
- Austin is definitely an art town with no age limit for who can make a difference.
It All Started at The University of Texas
In 1997, four University of Texas Drama and Theatre for Youth graduate students started a school project to encourage anti-bullying among young people.
Through 90-minute interactive and educational performances, the coeds (including Creative Action’s current Senior Director of School-based Programs, Lynn Hoare) taught middle school-aged students how to prevent violence among themselves and their peers. They called it “Theatre Action Project”.
Let the Theatre Games Begin!
TAP (Theatre Action Project): The Early Years
In the following eight years, LaShelle’s momentum as Executive Director expanded of reach of TAP’s offerings. From joining in community events like First Night to creating and offering programs, TAP spent this era building upon the foundation laid before them.
Between 2006 and 2014, we saw Theatre Action Project:
- Debut summer art camps
- Grow to employ 75+ Austin artists
- Serve 7 school districts
- Serve more that 20,000 students
- Begin Youth Arts Fest, a dance, visual art, film, and music showcase featuring works from TAP’s middle and high school programs
- Receive a donation of land to build a creative learning center
- Change its name to Creative Action, reflecting their mission to help more students find their voice and place in the arts
Creative Action’s Reach and Community Grows
Creativity Through Covid
Before the COVID-19 pandemic paused all in-person programming, CapMetro and Creative Action’s Spark School, Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary Media and Performing Arts Institute reached an exciting milestone with the Art on The Bus contest. The winning art work from Campbell Elementary scholars decorated one of Austin’s new electric buses, the first of their kind in Central Texas.
In March 2020…
The organization had to pivot to provide virtual and safe learning opportunities. Including:
- Creating the free Online Learning Hub
- Showing gratitude to frontline workers at CapMetro with the digital campaign #ChalklinesForFrontlines
- Providing safe at-home arts education through Creative Action Together and online teen programming with virtual classes and showcases for Color Squad, Youth Cinema Collective, and Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble
- Holding Music and Movement online for parents and young children
- Remaining connected to the older adult community in Continuing Creativity, the arts-based classes for adults ages 65+
Continuing its mission to use the arts as a medium to inspire creativity, unlock potential, and transform the lives of students of all ages, Creative Action created a new role, the Senior Director of Social Justice and Human Development to ensure the organization’s actions align with its values through…
- Collaborative communication among staff
- Learning opportunities and trainings to create a mutual sense of accountability
- Ensuring an anti-racist, social justice, and equity lens is present throughout the organization
2021 and Beyond
Creative Action has come a long way since 1997 thanks the hard work, paint, sweat, and glitter put in by countless individuals over two and a half decades. From UT, to Theatre Action Project, to Creative Action, this community provided a culture of collaboration, creativity, and respect that will continue to positively touch the lives of students and artists of all ages.
We’re grateful for their work and excited for another 25 years+!