Co-Lab Projects Purchases East Austin Property for a New Arts Complex

The non-profit organization plans to build a studio complex, gallery and outdoor performance venue in East Austin


Austin non-profit Co-Lab Projects has purchased a property in East Austin and plans to build a studio complex, gallery, and outdoor performance venue, the organization’s leaders announced today.

The arts group paid $365,000 for a .62-acre empty lot at 5419 Glissman Road, not far from other East Austin arts destinations.

“Our goal is to develop a nonprofit owned and operated studio complex, gallery and outdoor performance venue,” Co-Lab Projects executive director Sean Gaulager said in a statement.

“For the last seven years we’ve been saving our commissions from all the sales we’ve facilitated for artists, thinking we’d need the funds to renovate a new rental space. Earlier this year we decided that rather than renovate someone else’s property, the best use of those savings would be to invest in a long-term solution for our growing organization by purchasing our own property. After a fastidious search, we found an amazing site that was in our price range and close to other beloved arts complexes in East Austin.”

Co-Lab Project is among the rare property-owning Austin arts non-profit. The Vortex Theatre owns its theater and outdoor venue complex on Manor Road. Santa Cruz Center for Culture on East Seventh Street also owns its building.

The .62-acre lot at 5419 Glissman Road in East Austin purchased for $365,000 by non-profit Co-Lab Projects.

Co-Lab released a preliminary image of a potential building plan. However, Gaulager said that the organization is only at a very preliminary stage of creating a building plan, project budget and fundraising goal.

Co-Lab Projects started in 2008 as an artist-run project space presenting new media, installation and performances in a quickly changing schedule. For its first years it operated in a small East Austin warehouse on a large lot, the outdoor space integral to Co-Lab’s arts programming. In 2016, after it lost its East Austin site, Co-Lab occupied the long-empty building at 721 Congress Avenue, staging exhibitions there until the end of 2017.

While plans are in the works for the Glissman Road project, Co-Lab will operate a modest gallery space at Springdale General, a new complex designed by architect Michael Hsu and developed by Central Austin Management Group, the same team behind Canopy. Springdale General is home to the offices of, among others, Texas Book Festival, Austin Parks Foundations and creative industry businesses.

The exhibition “Lines Composed During A Tour” opens with the East Austin Studio tour and features Sara Vanderbeek, Andy Coolquitt, Kristi Kongi and Erin Curtis. Opening reception is 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 9 at Co-Lab Projects @ Springdale General, 1023 Springdale Road, Building 1.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is an arts and culture journalist who has covered visual art, performance, film, literature, architecture, and just about any combination thereof. She was the staff arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman for 17 years. Her commendations include the First Place Arts & Culture Criticism Award from the Society for Features Journalism. Additionally, Jeanne Claire has been awarded professional fellowships at USC’s Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and NEA/Columbia University Arts Journalism Institute. In 2022, she was awarded the Rabkin Prize in visual art journalism. Jeanne Claire founded and led Sightlines, a non-profit online arts and culture magazine that reached an annual readership of 600,000. And for two years, she taught arts journalism at the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Architecture magazine, Dwell, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Art Papers, and ICON design magazine, among other publications.

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