Guest article by Janet Lee
For Austin creatives, it’s often quite the journey to find space to fulfill projects, not to mention affordable space. Whether it’s having meetings, hosting an event, or simply finding a place to get work done, the hunt can be a job in itself.
But look no further. Motion Media Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit independent film, art, and technology center located in east Austin. From studio and event space, to equipment and classes, the center provides a variety of advanced resources and tools for visual artists. The organization’s focus is sustaining the Austin arts community by providing financially viable options for artists.
20,000-square-feet of Film, Art, Technology
With the vision that “film, art, and technology can be and are financially accessible art forms both in and outside of the classroom,” Motion Media Arts Center hosts two sister programs—Austin School of Film and Austin Cinemaker Space—that serve as the driving forces behind this mission.
With a broad expanse of 20,000-square-feet, the center is comprised of a computer lab, private studios, co-working space, kitchen, and a warehouse. It’s a creative hub that carries an industrial feel, with simple and modern furnishings that fuel productivity. Moreover, the eclectic space allows people the flexibility to arrange things accordingly to their creative and business needs.
Whether you’re looking to gain some creative production/software skills or are in need of meeting space, Motion Media Arts Center has you covered.
Austin School of Film: Professional Skills Through Alternative Education
As college tuition rates continue to rise, seeking nontraditional education routes is becoming the norm. Education & Programming Director Faiza Kracheni emphasized that communities deserve accessible alternatives to traditional institutions.
“Art education should be accessible to anyone interested in learning and those who have yet to be,” Kracheni told me. “Socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds should never stunt their access and this is why we exist.”
Experimental Video Art, Adobe Premiere, and Online Video Marketing are just a few examples of the range of classes Austin School of Film provides. Launched in 2004, the school offers over 500 classes year-round, ranging across all aspects of creative media production. Through courses, students gain real-world skills that ultimately fuel their career paths. Class sizes are kept small to ensure each student receives a fulfilling experience from industry professionals.
The class catalogue is updated every year, as industry norms and technology continue to evolve. The school is willing to work with any budget and provides scholarships to those who qualify.
You can find the schedule of upcoming classes here.
The Next Generation of Visual Artists
Classes aren’t only for adults. Austin School of Film offers youth camps and workshops, as well. Community Director Carrie Cates explained how she feels accountable to nurture the next generation, in order to leave a legacy.
“Youth are the future of not only Motion Media Arts Center, but the community at large,” she said. “If we don’t engage them while they are young, everything that we are working toward here is for not.”
Cinemaker Space: Austin’s Only Nonprofit Membership and Makerspace Program
Having just launched in 2016, Cinemaker Space is Austin’s first and only nonprofit co-working space, and membership program.
While programming classes for Austin School of Film in 2014, Kracheni felt there needed to be something more that catered to the artistic community holistically. During a trip to Brooklyn, she visited a friend’s office and was interested in its open floor plan.
Realizing Motion Media Arts Center could offer something similar through a low-cost membership program, Kracheni’s vision was to create a professional space with perks for artists. “We are catering to the community, to artists, to people who believe in community fairness of resources, space, and tools,” Kracheni said of Cinemaker Space.
Membership starts at $25 a month. All memberships come with the following amenities:
- High-speed WiFi
- Spacious work areas
- iMac computer lab (Adobe Creative Suite and Final Cut Pro available)
- Class and equipment rental discounts
- Conference room time
Not to mention, there’s a kitchen stocked with local coffee, tea, water, and snacks to keep you energized throughout the day. And better yet, BB the resident cat, whom you’ll see cruising and snoozing around the center.
You can find more details on membership plans here.
Personal and Professional Growth in a Collaborative Setting
Whether you’re a freelancer, student, or business owner, Motion Media Arts Center fosters personal and professional growth. Each day is different, fueling a natural drive to continue to create.
“It’s become a melting pot of ideas and collaborations that are ultimately making a huge impact on everyone’s growth,” explained Cates. “While the arts can be an incredibly competitive sector because we’re all fighting for the same finite pools of grants and audience, what you find here is a mentality that a rising tide lifts all boats.”
For more details on how to get involved or contribute, visit the center’s website.
2200 Tillery St. – Website
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Janet is a freelance writer. Most of her writing on film and local communities can be found on her website.