“When I was a youth …, I had no idea that there were any major empires, kingdoms or cities or cultures in Africa,” says Da’Mon Stith, founder of the Guild of the Silent Sword. With the goal of recovering and evolving the lost fighting arts of Africa, Stith created the Guild of the Silent Sword as a way to build community and awaken people’s understanding of African culture. He considers sword play “experimental archaeology” and uses it to feel like part of a larger, human story.
“Hip-hop is the number one form of communication in the world,” says Nook Turner, founder of JumpOnIt. With the goals of community building as his top priority, Turner created JumpOnIt as a different kind of music festival – one that uses hip-hop as a vessel to promote health awareness, entrepreneurism, and community pride.
Leti Garza combines her natural gift of musical talent and personal life experiences to weave together a recurring theme of authenticity in her music. She has the ability to draw from a vast resource of cultures and transform the music into her own while paying homage to the roots from which they were born.
By attending Creative Action’s Continuing Creativity classes, Austin Seniors are able stay involved in the arts, maintain cognitive health and meet new people in the community. The group, mostly comprised of Senior African-Americans of the Chestnut neighborhood, is encouraged to learn new skills and explore a passion they have always wanted to try. Through writing and other creativity stimulating activities, the Seniors of the Continuing Creativity class continue to invigorate their everlasting minds.
Chulita Vinyl Club is an all-female, all-vinyl collective that brings together DJs who share their personal archives of vinyl music in select performances and spaces. The collective was founded in Austin, but has chapters in both Texas and California.
Inspired by everything awkward and sweet, Lauren Briere paints scenes of robots in nature. Each of her paintings is inspired by a human emotion that we’ve all experienced, and reminds us of things we take for granted.
Three Austin, Latino artists: Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi, James Huizar and Claudia Zapata are changing the tradition of art through experience and happenings, not just art.
In 2012, The Puro Chingón Collective was born, which set off to break the traditional art space and aimed it towards the exterior of the art space, resulting in connectivity among the art and bystanders. The collective is a Latino art trifecta specializing in happenings, the activation of nontraditional spaces, designer toys and art zines. Ultimately, the art work goes untouched from the artist to the public and illustrates that people are not alone in their thoughts.
Austin is constantly changing. Whether that be its music, food or art scene there is always something trendy around the corner. Which is why Arts In Context is seeking applicants for artists to feature on the award-winning series.
With Arts In Context, KLRU aims to pique curiosity and inspire individuals by spotlighting visual arts, dance, music and culture. Each episode is compelling and character driven.
If you have a story that anyone can be inspired by or can relate to, make sure to apply today. Apply here
Prakash Mohandas, founder of Agni The Dance Company, has set his mark in Austin by opening the first Bollywood dance studio in the area. Founded in 2007, Agni consists of professional performers, aspiring artists, instructors, production assistants and a management team united by a common love of the performing arts and creative expression.
“Choreography doesn’t come from thin air,” Mohandas said. “For me, (the song) has to inspire me for me to want to choreograph it. When I get into that space, it’s a very spiritual experience.”
One of Agni’s primary goals is to provide quality Indian, performing arts education in various locations in Austin and Round Rock areas through classes conducted by experienced and renowned instructors.
“Austin is fantastic for eclectic audiences,” he said. “I think it’s one of the cities that I’ve seen that is so welcoming to new kinds of art forms and a new kinds of dance.”
While traveling across Europe, Mychal Mitchell thought she would be inspired by the architecture of the cities she visited but after having her journal stolen in a train station she soon discovered a bookbinding studio in Venice and fell in love with the old-world-style of handmade leather journals.
“I discovered bookbinding kind of my accident,” Mitchell said. “About a week later, I was kind of flirting with this very handsome street artist and he ended up taking me to his friend’s little bookbinding studio and I ended up being blown away by what he was doing.”
Now, more than 20 years later, Mitchell continues to use the techniques she learned on her European trip and shares her beautiful handcrafted journals and photo albums with others in her East Austin Studio.
“It’s really inspiring to see the way that people use them,” she said. “Especially when people bring them back to me and they are all filled up…they’re gorgeous.”