Help support the arts in Austin

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2017

Laura Helle

Austin Area Commission For the Arts

My nine-year-old daughter asked me what I wanted to do for a career when I was her age.

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The answer came quickly: I wanted to be an artist. My two favorite things to do were draw and read and I imagined a life in front of a canvas, palette of paint in one hand and paint brush in the other. There may even have been a beret involved.

As I reflect on that early ambition, I am struck by how grateful I am to be working at the Austin Area Commission for the Arts. Every day I wake up and go to work to harness the power of the arts to improve lives. It’s not quite the canvas-and-brushes life I pictured as a child. It is creative, challenging, joyful work.

I see our $5 Kids Studio classes expand young minds. I see live music at the Paramount improve the spirits—and lower the blood pressure—of our patrons. I see artists gain confidence, joy and cash from exhibiting, selling their work and teaching classes. I see performers light up the stage, whether the Paramount or the ArtWorks Center gallery during a Jam Session.

I watch adults gain new skills and form new friendships at our art classes and open studio time. I watch volunteers give of their time and talents—so much so that it adds up to over $60,000 in donated labor every year. I watch people enter the Paramount Theatre for the first time and say, “Wow.”

Even individuals who don’t ever experience the programs at the Paramount Theatre, Austin ArtWorks Center or Austin ArtWorks Festival gain benefits from our work. Our programs boost the Austin area economy by an estimated $200,000 per year, improve quality of life which helps employers attract and retain workforce, and celebrate diversity by creating cultural and social bridges to understanding.

Are you interested in doing more with the arts in Austin? Please know that there are three ways you can support our work. As a patron by attending a show at the Paramount or an art class at the ArtWorks Center, shopping at the retail space or renting our spaces for private events. As a volunteer giving your time and talent in the role(s) of your choice in a no-guilt environment. As a contributor with donations of cash or stock or in your estate planning. The Austin Area Commission for the Arts also maintains an endowment fund at the Austin Area Foundation.

We appreciate all those who contribute to the arts and help us do what we do.

As 2017 comes to a close, I hope many of you find creativity, challenge and joy in your work like I do.

Christmas at Home

Follow your holiday tradition — or start a new one — by attending Christmas at Home on Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec.16.

Each show is a unique slate of local music talent from Austin Public Schools featuring music faculty, current students, alumni and friends. Proceeds benefit school music programs. Tickets are just $15 in advance, $20 day of,  $5 for students.

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre

•Dec. 8-10: Matchbox Children’s Theatre’s “A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol.”  7 p.m. Dec. 8-9; 2 p.m. Dec. 10

•Dec. 13: $5 movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” 7:30 p.m.

•Dec. 15-16: “Christmas at Home”, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16.

•Dec. 20: $5 movie, “Home Alone,” 7:30 p.m.

•Dec. 27: $5 movie, “Die Hard,” 7:30 p.m.

Coming soon at the ArtWorks Center

•Dec. 12: Winter Trunk Show, 5 p.m.

Find out more at