9 in 2009: A Year in Review

2009 became a historic year for the 35-year-old Austin Circle of Theaters. Sometimes we speed so quickly into the new year that we don’t take the time to stop and reflect on what we have accomplished in the year past!  Here are 9 of the things we accomplished in 2009. Here’s to many more changes and exciting programs to come in 2010!

#9 National Exposure:

Jessica's booth at NAMP.

Staff and Amy Layton of Hook Em Marketing at Boston APASO Conference.

Jessica Thompson, our Outreach Director, was invited to speak at the National Arts And Marketing Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Jessica was invited to share with the National Arts Marketers our arts awareness campaign, Get Your Art On. The office staff traveled to Boston to spread the word about what Austin was doing in March at the National APASO Conference (Association of Performing Arts Service Orgs.) Both of these traveling opportunities gave us a chance to share what we were creating here, and pick up tips and tricks from other service orgs.

#8 Arts Advocacy:

Our ED, Latifah Taormina, has been active in talks through out the year with the city to push for changes in the arts. Two Staff members, Anne Marie and Jessica, participated in an invite only legislature visit where they gathered with our local arts representatives and learned about how to best communicate with local government officials.

#7 Annual Auditions

Staff and volunteers prepare for the auditions.

Our Annual Unified General Auditions, which pairs local talent with exposure to theatre and film directors and casting agents, exploded! We added even more auditors, and paired with The Alliance to invite casting directors and agents to attend. Donise Hardy spoke to the auditors before the auditions. We grew the amount of actors interested in the program from 40 audition-ers in 2008 to 120 audition-ers in 2009!

#6 Get Your Art On

Get Your Art on Appears on Capital Metro Buses!

We certainly Got Our Art On in 2009. Following up on the success of GYAO 2008, we continued our mission to spread the word about all the Art happenings in Austin during the month of October. GYAO was started to celebrate National Arts and Humanities month, and has developed quite a life of its own. We held a kids friendly kickoff event at Wooldridge park with local talent (Greater Tuna’s “Aunt Pearl” and The Biscuit Brothers among the performers,) and invited the city to celebrate with us. Through generous sponsorship from Capital One bank, we not only were able to have a booth at the Pecan Street Festival which we shared with the Long Center, but were also able to donate additional booth space for use for free to our members. We produced a color insert in the Statesman, which highlighted hundreds of Austin arts events, and created event directories on our site to spread the love.

#5 B Iden Payne’s

Our wonderful MC, Les.

This year was the 35th Annual BIP Awards, and it was quite a time! We had a stellar Director, Dave Buckman, and an amazing MC, Les McGehee, and quite an array of performers and presenters. We asked the previous years winners to present the awards. These awards ended up becoming sold out. Last years awards sat about 170, and this year we maxed out at 230, and had many people celebrating in the lobby in addition! Together with the BIP Committee, we made these Paynes a year to remember!

#4: Now Playing Austin/ Arts Minute/Podcast

Carla filming at the studio!

After several years of work from Latifah, we created an Arts Minute that plays on News 8 on Wednesdays. With the generous donation of talent from Carla McDonald, we produce ( through Uptown Studios) a weekly arts minute to highlight what’s hot this week in the arts. Many local groups received free TV time from this spot. Additionally the minute links people back to our cultural portal, Now Playing Austin.com. Now Playing Austin holds hundreds of arts events from all disciplines and receives about 25,000 hits per month, and growing! More and more people have begun to use the site and we are able to promote numerous arts groups free of charge! We also began a Weekly Arts Podcast to highlight exciting artists and upcoming events. You can find it at nowplayingaustin.com or all over our facebook/twitter every Friday.

#3: Social Media/Meetups

Our first House Wine Meetup.

The Alliance has become Social Media Savvy in 2009. With a facebook following of almost 2,000 (http://www.facebook.com/greateraustincreativealliance) a new and updated twitter presence ( twitter.com/nowplayaustin), a new blog with daily posts ( nowplayingaustin.wordpress.com) and a social network that reaches outside of just the web. In November we began our monthly Arts Meetups, giving numerous Austin Artists an opportunity to mix and mingle with each other in a relaxed and fun way. We are working hard on building a strong sense of community among numerous art forms. We are gearing up for our third arts meetup at Uncorked, January 18th. Please join us! We also added a new Social Media Director/Content Manager in 09, Susie Gidseg. We also have several exciting interns helping with this process: Ross Scarano, Elizabeth Cortez-Neavel and Jenny Keto.

#2: Now Playing Austin A – Team


The Now Playing Austin A-Team has grown astronomically. Thanks to the fantastic support of local arts groups, we have been able to give out tickets every week to many arts fans. These A Teamers then write reviews for the event on Now Playing Austin.com to help promote the event way before the newspaper reviews can do so! The A Team has grown to almost 200 participants! The A Team is now a benefit of becoming a member of the Creative Alliance.

#1 Austin Circle of Theatres becomes the Greater Austin Creative Alliance

~New Logo~

After several years of intense work, the Create Austin task force gave the honor of becoming the first Creative Alliance to Austin Circle of Theatres. We were selected because of our 35 years of continual service to the theatre community and now are overjoyed to expand the services and support we once gave to the theatrical community to now encompass all of the arts in Austin! 2010 will be a year of change, and we are ready. We invite all of you to join on s founding members of the Creative Alliance. Help us envision the Creative Alliance you need and want. Everyone’s voice counts, and we look forward to hearing yours.

Whew! What a year! And that run down was just a part of it. We at the Creative Alliance are ready for more.

And as for New Years Resolutions..well..We have some of those too.

1. Be as transparent as possible. Tell you what we are doing. And tell you twice.
2. Create programs and services under our new organization that are wanted by the community.
3. Support all arts groups in any way we can.
4. Grow our member base.
5. Find ways to unite and bring together the artistic community in Austin.

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About nowplayingaustin

The Austin Creative Alliance is a nonprofit performing arts service organization working to cultivate an environment where the performing arts can grow and flourish. We serve over 130 arts organizations with marketing, ticketing, audience development services; AEA paymaster, information & referral services — plus access to affordable health, liability, and event insurance. We also provide online professional development seminars, fiscal sponsorship services for emerging arts groups, host annual unified general auditions, annual theatre industry awards, and consistently advocate for the many benefits the arts bring to our quality of life.

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