In 2014 with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Partners for Sacred Places began an 18 month research study into the space needs of artists and space availability of sacred places within three geographically diverse cities: Austin, Baltimore, and Detroit. The results of that survey were published in 2016’s Creating Spaces: Performing Artists in Sacred Spaces. It was concluded that both Austin and Baltimore were both in the right positions to directly benefit from our Arts in Sacred Places program and training. From 2016-18, Partners spend time on the ground in both cities directly applying their expertise, inventorying sacred places, engaging with artists, and training them to work together.

Within the City of Austin, the need for spaces for artists to work, rehearse, and perform has reached critical levels over the past few years. The tremendous growth fueling the city’s rapidly growing economy has caused a dramatic increase in rents in the spaces that local artists have traditionally used for their work.

With the help from the Partners for Sacred Places’ Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places program, Austin artists, of all disciplines, can now start to find creative homes within the unused spaces of sacred place facilities. The Arts in Sacred Places program creates mutually-beneficial space sharing relationships between artists in need of space, and diverse congregations with space to spare and who would like to rent to artists.

Local partner Civic Arts, led by Executive Director Lynn Osgood, has created the Austin Arts in Sacred Places website. The website is still in development as Lynn and her team collect photographs, take measurements, and initiate in depth conversations with the clergy and lay leadership of Austin’s sacred places. Civic Arts is laying the essential framework for the success of the Arts in Sacred Places program in Austin. They are building off Partners’ foundation laying work from 2014-2017 in the area and we look forward to collaborating again when Civic Arts is ready for the next step.

Austin’s Three City Study Data:

  • 98% of surveyed Austin artists see an urgent need for creative space
  • 85% of surveyed Austin artists are receptive to associating their work with a sacred place
  • 40% more artists responded to our survey in Austin than any other city in the study

Advantages to Participation:

  • Artists steer clear of mortgages and facilities management
  • Sacred places tend to charge below market rates
  • Sacred places in Austin were the most open (of the surveyed cities) to supporting local artists

Listen to a Podcast on Soundcloud to learn more about our past efforts in Austin.

Karen DiLossi, Director Arts in Sacred Places, Partners for Sacred Places
(215) 567-3234 x16

Lynn Osgood, Executive Director, Civic Arts
(512) 876-2266