Intertwined By Art: Get To Know SprATX
Written by Lauren Jones
SprATX, a creative agency in Austin, Texas, has been connecting artists throughout the world—such as streets artists and muralists—with opportunities for growth and financial support. In a city known for its deep-seated creativity, it’s program, SprATX Ignite, which grants artists the tools necessary to grow their careers, is more important now than ever before.
“Without imagination, we would be in darkness,” says Molly Maroney, co-owner of SprATX.
Maroney, who founded SprATX in 2013, was inspired by Austin’s thriving artistic community, as well as influences from her own childhood.
“My mother was a muralist and she passed that skill onto me, but I never had really tested the waters in the Austin scene,” she says.
Maroney’s SprATX co-founder introduced her to a group of guys he had been painting with and she was immediately intrigued.
“I fell in love with the medium and people, but there was no scene or home base, or even a place to meet unless you happen to meet another muralist,” she recalls.
The pair came up with the hashtag, #SprATX, a mix between spray and ATX for their artist friends to use on Instagram, and soon it took off like wildfire, Maroney remembers.
“I think the story of SprATX highlights just how deep of a need there was in Austin for a place to find other artists, interact with each other and engage with the community at large,” she says. “It’s beautiful when you can help foster a place for human relationships to spark and build, especially when enveloped in creativity.”
SprATX Ignite, a newly formed platform, further helps spark the Austin community. Selected artists are granted access to dedicated studio space, given a crash course on the business of art and on mural production, reduced pricing on art supplies, promotion on social media, and the opportunity to exhibit their work in a quarterly showcase.
“The Ignite program was developed to help emerging artists succeed,” she says. “Rather than kindling them, we want to help them see and plan their own roadmap to success and fill their bag with tools to help them along their journey. We tailor our program to the desires and knowledge we think would best suit each artist-in-residence. And just as it was pivotal in the SprATX story, we try to center everything with the hope they will become more involved within all aspects of the Austin art scene.”
In addition to aid from generous patrons, the program is fiscally sponsored by the Austin Community Foundation, an organization that has been helping Austin philanthropies thrive for more than 40 years. It’s this support from the city, as well as from the community, that makes SprATX Ignite possible.
“There has been a loss somewhere in our collective history where art as a trade, or something you could be successful at and build a comfortable life with, was lost and instead replaced with the starving artist archetype,” she says. “We want people to live out their passions and take a new perspective, as we try to help each artist flourish and build a sustainable business plan.”
Just as the community has supported SprATX over the last six years, Maroney and her artists have given back to the community through experiential marketing, working on sculptures and installations, gallery exhibitions, and murals where clients can share their stories.
For example, the Impossible Walls Project, a city-wide mural campaign during SXSW 2016, brought local and international artists together and allowed the public a first-hand view of what really goes into creating a large-scale piece of work.
It’s that equal and flowing exchange between the community and its artists that is critical. And luckily, Austin as a whole values the role that art plays within its citizens overall happiness.
“We think it is so important for creatives to be supported by their communities because art is a form of expression and everyone can benefit from it,” Maroney adds. “Art has a way of positively impacting someone’s mood, as well as resonating with an emotional time in someone’s life. Art can impact everyone for the better so it is important for the community to continue supporting it.”
To learn more about SprATX, the work it has done in the Austin community, or how to support local artists, visit www.spratx.com.