Bastrop Welcomes The Art Institute of Austin

Bastrop Welcomes The Art Institute of Austin Main Photo

17 Sep 2021


The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, has moved its main location to Bastrop, Texas, as a result of a collaboration with the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the Lost Pines Art Center. The Bastrop campus is regionally accredited as part of The Art Institutes, a prestigious system of private, nonprofit schools located throughout the United States that date back to 1921. 

“Bringing The Art Institutes to Bastrop is a significant milestone for our community,” says Bastrop Mayor, Connie Schroeder, who also serves on the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation board. “Not only will this partnership bring post-secondary 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 will occupy the newly completed building that BEDC erected on a slab that had been vacant since a fire destroyed the previous building back in 2003. BEDC purchased the vacant slab at 921 Main Street in 2016, but before construction could take place, BEDC had to renovate the adjoining fire-damaged walls. This past year, the new building was completed bringing revitalization to Main Street and higher education to Bastrop in one bold move.

“The Art Institute is proud to be the first institution of higher education in Bastrop,” says LaToya Williams, Interim President. “This move provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on, real-world experience in their chosen fields, and provides the city with the opportunity to see its arts culture grow and thrive.”

The Art Institute is a unique multi-campus college offering students in pursuit of creative careers bachelor degrees, associate degrees, and diploma programs that incorporate traditional liberal arts, professional education, and management level competencies. Graduates, taught by a faculty of respected, active professionals, are prepared for entry-level positions in fields such as interior design, media and web design, gaming, animation, fashion, and culinary arts. 

The Art Institute move was spearheaded by Claude Brown, Chancellor of The Art Institutes, at the request of the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Houston.

When asked about this decision, Brown says, “The move to Bastrop has brought about not just a change in location, but also a change in pathway for The Art Institutes. It’s one we feel will open doors and give students new opportunities to form valuable relationships with industry professionals, gain practical real-world experience, and integrate into an art-rich community, all in a manner that has never existed before.” 

Bastrop, already a haven for artists, gives Art Institute students a bevy of choices for internships and hands-on experiences in video and music production, costuming and props, the culinary arts, and fashion design and production. Businesses like Daniela Vlad Design Studio, Scream Hollow, Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard, and Spiderwood Studios serve as experiential classrooms for the students. 

Adding further to Bastrop's artistic appeal is The Lost Pines Art Center, a vibrant venue for recitals, exhibits, and markets. Bastrop itself boasts a full calendar of events, festivals, and street fairs. Across the street from The Art Institute is the Painted Porch Bookstore owned by Ryan Holiday, author of two bestselling books, and his wife, Samantha.

According to Williams, The Art Institute of Austin is thrilled to make its new home in Bastrop and looks forward to becoming a vital part of the local community while continuing to serve the greater Austin area as an important source for creative professionals in the design, media arts, culinary arts, and fashion disciplines.

The college community, with its anticipated enrollment of 500 to 550 students, will have a positive economic impact on local real estate, hospitality, and retail while providing exciting educational and employment opportunities for creatives. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

For more information please visit:

Local Phone: 512-691-1707
Toll Free Phone: 866-583-7952
1204 Chestnut Street
Bastrop, TX 78602