Art Institute of Austin
In August 2019, the Art Institute of Austin announced plans to open a campus in Bastrop in 2020. The Bastrop EDC agreed to construct a 9,000 square foot facility for the school to lease. They also helped facilitate agreements for the Art Institute to have classes at two other locations in Bastrop. The Art Institute of Austin will offer a variety of programming across the three proposed facilities. The Art Institutes’ film and production courses will be a featured program at the campus. The school also offers degree programs in the areas of design, fashion, media arts and culinary.
BEDC brings first institution of higher learning to Bastrop, fueling the creative economy through long-term partnerships with 921 Main Street, Lost Pines Art Center and Silos and New Republic Studios
BASTROP, TEXAS – August 7, 2019 – The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) today announced The Art Institutes is pursuing plans to relocate the Austin campus to Bastrop in summer 2020. Upon approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), The Art Institutes will proceed with an agreement with BEDC for a 10-year lease at 921 Main Street, along with leases at Lost Pines Art Center and Silos and New Republic Studios (NRS) to provide additional facilities for the campus.
The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, has served as an important source of creative professionals for more than a decade. It is one of The Art Institutes, a system of private, nonprofit schools located throughout the US that extends back to 1921. The institution offers diploma through bachelor's degrees in the areas of design, media arts, culinary and fashion.
This will be the first institution of higher learning located in Bastrop. The campus alone will bring many jobs to the city over the course of the next 10 years, and the student community will create a positive economic impact on local real estate, hospitality, retail and more while building a pipeline of talent in the Bastrop area.
“Bringing the Art Institutes to Bastrop is a significant milestone for our community,” said Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroeder. “Not only will this partnership bring postsecondary education to the area for the first time, but it will also create a positive, long-term impact on our local economy as Bastrop continues to grow.”
The Art Institute of Austin will offer a variety of programming across the three proposed facilities. The Art Institutes’ film and production courses will be a featured program at the campus, as part of a unique collaboration with New Republic Studios. The Bastrop location will be a significant step toward industry immersion for students, with training programs side-by-side with media professionals in the field. Not only will Austin students be able to take advantage of the new campus offerings, but students studying at The Art Institutes’ campuses in Houston and San Antonio will also enjoy the benefits.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for our institution as we continue to evolve through strategic partnerships and innovation with a focus on delivering the most comprehensive learning experience to our students,” said Byron Chung, Interim President of The Art Institute of Houston.
Request for approval of the relocation is currently being reviewed by SACSCOC. In the interim, BEDC is working with The Art Institutes on plans to construct a new, two-story, 9,000-square-foot facility at 921 Main Street, purpose-built to serve the institution. The new building will provide an anchor space with industry-current classrooms and amenities. Upon approval of the relocation, The Art Institutes will also lease gallery and teaching space at the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos
“We are honored to partner with the Art Institutes on this new campus,” said Mark Rose, President of the Board of Directors for the Lost Pines Art League. “We are excited to share the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos with the new school, fostering an even greater appreciation of the arts in our city and training up the next generation of artists.”
As an extension to what students learn in the classrooms at 921 Main Street and the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos, New Republic Studios will provide a unique, immersive experience in coordination with local industry professionals. Students will have access to New Republic’s production facilities, audio engineering rooms and other ancillary spaces where they will gain hands-on experience and see their potential future careers in action.
“This is a huge opportunity to give The Art Institute students a hands-on, real-world experience, connecting them directly to those are working professionally in the creative industries. Allowing for internships, mentorships and a chance to take a deep dive into what it takes to truly make a living in their chosen field,” said Mindy Raymond, President of New Republic Studios. “This symbiotic relationship can be enhanced through the years as both New Republic Studios and The Art Institute look to expand in both vision and reach.”
Construction is planned to begin in August 2019 for the new building at 921 Main Street, and renovations at the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos will begin in late 2019. All construction is scheduled to be completed in June 2020, with the campus opening to students for the summer quarter upon receipt of necessary approvals.
“This is a town in search of a college, and we are a college in search of a town, and together we are going to become a college town”, said Claude Brown, chancellor of the Art Institute of Austin (AAI) school system, at a special event held on August 8th to announce their plans to move to Bastrop. His words energized the crowd as he went on to explain what this new partnership means for the Bastrop community.
The plans to open a Bastrop campus in summer 2020 are the culmination of hard work by countless entities and the school’s intent to ardently serve advanced education in the Bastrop County area, officials said at a welcoming ceremony on Thursday. Close to100 people gathered for the ceremony at 921 Main Street, where a $1.4 million building to house the school will be commissioned by the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation.
In her welcoming remarks, Mayor Connie Schroeder said the Art Institute of Austin will be a “long-term job-creating tenant” for Bastrop. Referring to the project coming to fruition, Schroeder added, “This project didn’t happen overnight” and reflected intense efforts by local officials. She particularly complimented Jean Riemenschneider, who heads up the BEDC’s workforce and education program and also server as project manager.
This will be the first institution of higher learning located in Bastrop. Officials say the institute will “bring many jobs to the city over the course of the next 10 years, and the student community will create a positive economic impact.” The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, is a nonprofit institution with programs in the areas of design, fashion, media arts, and culinary, according to its website.
As Brown explained the vision of AAI’s new leadership, these students will be able to “step out onto Main Street and be immersed in the experiences of everything they’ve learned in this space. Here’s a place where students can graduate, work together, and start their own production company, start their own design company, start to build a part of the economy of this town for themselves in a way that is very different than what they can do in Austin, or Atlanta, or Miami.”
Instruction at Additional Locations – The institute has a soon-to-be finalized agreement with the BEDC for a 10-year lease for the Main Street location, where a two-story structure will be built. There are also leases with Bastrop’s Lost Pines Art Center and Elgin’s New Republic Studios to provide additional instructional/working space. A variety of programming will be offered at the two facilities in addition to the main downtown campus. Construction begins later this month for the Main Street facility with completion set for June 2020 and student enrollment beginning that summer. Renovations at the Lost Pines Art Center and silos will begin in late 2019.
Bastrop’s ‘Commitment to the Arts’ – Brown, said at the ceremony that there is “a deep history of commitment to the arts” in Bastrop. He said the institute “will provide college students an opportunity to put into practice what they learn” while benefiting the Bastrop-area community. He added “it’s important for a college to support (its) community” and vice versa, and said that has definitely been his experience in his interactions with Bastrop.
Chris White, a graduate of Bastrop High School and currently enrolled at the Art Institute of Austin, had strong praise for the school and its faculty. He is studying digital film and video production while working for the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce. White said he likes that students get individual attention from teachers in addition to classroom work. “They work independently with me. I have professors that really want to see me succeed. They take pride in watching me grow.”
Austin, TX 78728