City awards $60,000 to Creative Action for program to employ Austin artists

Creative Action
Creative Action's Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble recently performed a show called "Can You Hear Us Now?"

The city of Austin has awarded $60,000 to arts education non-profit Creative Action for a program that will employ teaching artists who lost employment or income due to the pandemic.

Called Austin Safely Creates, the one year program will engage artists to create community-enhancing art projects that foster positive mental health and build community.

City records show that the contract with Creative Action began in September 2020, and the $60,000 comes from the Economic Development Department’s operating funds. The program is considered part of the  Austin Civilian Conservation Corps, a jobs initiative approved by the city council in May 2020 in response to the pandemic’s impact. 

“Our goal with Austin Safely Creates is to support artists’ mental health through employment and foster hope and empowerment, two key ingredients for mental and emotional well-being, for the larger community,” said Sarah Rinner, chief program officer at Creative Action.

“Mental health was already an issue prior to COVID-19. Now, add the recent challenges of the pandemic and it’s clear we need to think differently when it comes to how we engage our minds. The arts offer an evidence-based solution for promoting well-being and mental health.”

Program activities will be led by professional artists and will engage community members of all ages in interactive art-making, self-expression, and healing around the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creative Action is the largest arts education organization in Central Texas. It employs dozens of teaching artists for its school-based and community-based programs.