The Austin Chronicle

Up Collective

Another Eastside arts space gets the rising-rent blues and looks to the crowd for help

By Robert Faires, March 14, 2014, Arts

Rising rent – if there's a bogeyman stalking Austin's creative class, that's it. As noted in the first installment of the Arts section series "The Cost of Art" ("Nowhere to Play," Jan. 24), rent increases are picking off local theatre spaces like a serial killer in a B-horror film. And a mass email from Tiny Park last week announced that the esteemed gallery will be shutting down over rising rent. (More on that in part two of "The Cost of Art" later this month.)

Now comes word that Up Collective is in danger of losing the two-story building on East Cesar Chavez that it has inhabited – and significantly upgraded – since 2011. A tech firm is reportedly looking to buy out the space, and Up has until April 15 to match the bid. Failure to do so would mean the loss of not only 21 artists' studios and a 1,600-square-foot gallery but a creative incubator in which artists of diverse mediums – painting, photography, jewelry, video – interact, share ideas, make new work, and show it.

Like so many independent creators today, Up's artists are trying to crowdsource their way out of danger. Through Equity Endeavor, the collective is running a six-week campaign to raise $20,000 – $18,000 to cover a year's increase in rent for the gallery, $1,250 for building maintenance, and $750 for event hospitality. In exchange for donations, Up is offering great swag, much of it in the form of original art by collective members. As of press time, Up had raised just $4,000, so your support is needed. Contribute online at or do so in person during this week's special music showcases: You're Here! March 12-13, with more than a dozen acts, including Mirah, Mother Falcon, and the Marmalakes; and Charlie Says "Fest!" on Friday, March 14, with For the Foxes, Tiny Moving Parts, Pup, Diamond Youth, and Driver Friendly.

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