Now, the title may say “beginning,” but the real truth behind that statement is that art was always here, just hiding in the rich history of Buda’s culture—a story that economic changes influence in the creative world. If you talk to anyone who grew up in Buda in the 80’s, Downtown Buda was a haven for anyone with a creative bone and was once lined with art studios and craft makers alike.
Steve Harris, a second generation artist to call Buda home, was born in the 70’s to a professional potter who owned a studio along-side the many artists in downtown at that time. He thinks back on life in the “good old days” as a child running around downtown, generally creating mischief, but always admiring the people behind the art.
“I remember the unique sense of unity between the artists and craftsmen,” Steve says. “Every time one would take a break from their work they would walk down Main Street and stop in to visit the neighboring studios to share ideas, discuss upcoming art shows and swap bad jokes.”
It’s this exact history that the #budaartmovement we saw at Art in the Heart tips its hat to. The explosion in population across the Austin area in the 90’s brought in more shops and dining into downtown spurring an inevitable rise in property taxes and slowly pushing the artist to seek lower rent. But with the Buda Main Street Program starting the initiative to create an arts district in downtown, and the city-wide support of the Inspired Minds Art Center opening in downtown, we are seeing a resurgence of this history come to life.
“Buda is once again becoming a prosperous location for both the established and emerging artist. This is showcased by the local businesses offering there space to display artwork, companies such as Two Wheel Brewing sponsoring art events and the highly reputable Assemblage Contemporary Craftsman Gallery calling Downtown Buda home,” Steve said. “The efforts put forth by Sinead and Susan of Inspired Minds Art Center has created an opportunity for local artists to network and support each other much like the early days that I remember.”
Today we look to a future that not only showcases the arts, but gives it a place to grow and call home. With its resurgence, arts and culture has become its own economic influence that brings tourism and invites visitors to not only explore but also contribute to our community. And I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thrilled to know that no matter what changes a community faces—arts and culture have the power to push through and bring people together as it has for millennia.
As Marcela Kourkova from Fine Art Buda says, “[Art] connects community and teaches us to imagine and dream.” The #budaartmovement may be just beginning in 2019, but it has a strong history and a lot of soul deep in its bones. Take a look.