Spotted in Manila, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting started in Austin

I moved to Austin, Texas 3 months ago and since then, have constantly been discovering the beauty and fun the city has to offer. Food carts! Tex Mex! Bat bridge! Farmers markets! BBQ! I am loving it.

But just moments after I entered the Austin city limits on the drive to my new apartment, I stopped at a light and as soon as I came to a stop, a girl around my age began to wash my windshield. It was unwanted, since I had no cash to give her as a tip. So frustrated, I tried to shoo her away, inched my car forward, and zoomed through the light as soon as it turned green. I was so uncomfortable with this event, but even more uncomfortable with my rudeness and lack of compassion.

This was the beginning of very regular confrontations with the poverty that is present in Austin. Even in the "privileged" areas of town, like near the University of Texas, one only needs to walk a few blocks to be face to face with homelessness and poverty. To me, this (as well as the guilt of how I treated the girl at the stop light) has been inspiring me to get started with sharing art in the community since it can be such a beautiful and necessary thing.

So since moving here, I have been working on meeting potential collaborators at UT, and friends who share my interest in arts service work. There is so much energy around this kind of work in Austin, and I would love to see all of these ideas turned into action. Today, my proposal to become the Austin Chapter of Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) was accepted and I am so excited to begin working with them and all of my new friends who have responded to my request for team mates. My goal for our chapter is that it will be a place where artists can bring their ideas, get support and help from colleagues, and spearhead their own sustainable and meaningful projects. I can't wait to see what happens from this. I am so inspired!

I look forward to continue to update the work of ASTEP in Austin and our chapter here under the label "2014-2015 Austin"!

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