A creative space where God moves.
Imagine Art is a Christian ministry, a 501c3 nonprofit, established in 1996. We operate a creative space, located at 2830 Real Street in Austin, Texas (78722). 65+ artists are engaged in our community, accessing 9,500 square feet of studios and galleries. We offer specialized supports tailored to empower artists with disabilities to create art. Non-disabled players engage as working artists in our studios to create a diverse, inclusive space where all artists thrive.
People ask us “Why is Imagine Art a ministry?” Our story has been an amazing journey of grace and restoration and we believe that we are called and positioned to minister to a specific people group; artists, namely those living with disabilities.
Disability is woven through our Founder’s history. Between 1989 and 1997, Debbie Kizer worked in the disability community serving as a consultant in the areas of developmental disability, employment and systems change. In 1995, one year prior to the organizations inception, Debbie Kizer was diagnosed with a mental illness and it changed the course of her life. Her recovery and spiritual journey were woven, as parallel paths, with this grassroots organization as they both grew and changed. In 2001, it was clear to the Founder that Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of Imagine Art and that the organization needed a foundation of faith to make a difference in the lives of the artists seeking help.
Multiple other agencies serve artists with disabilities in Austin, including VSA Arts of Texas, The ARC of the Arts and Harmony Arts Center. There are over 175,000 citizens with disabilities living in Austin. Among them are hundreds of ‘artists’ living with disabilities. We serve a distinct group of those artists; those who are in need of authentic community and seeking restoration and transformation. We serve artists ready to engage in community and tackle life's challenges. Together we are becoming who we were created to be. Imagine Art is not an evangelical organization and we serve artists from every walk of life; including artists that practice other faiths or do not believe as we do. Our faith is the reason that we do what we are doing, but "faith" is not what we are doing. WHAT we are doing is ART, for the sake of transforming the lives of artists with disabilities. Why we are doing it is because it glorifies the God who has us called to the work.
In 2014 we opened our community to both artists with and without disabilities to demonstrate an inclusive space where all artists thrive. Our mission and heart towards artists with disabilities calls us to provide additional support services that ensure these artists are successful. Artists with disabilitiesaccess our studio, complete with free professional art supplies and support from an Artistic Director and Volunteer Mentors. Non-disabled artists join us to work in the studios to keep our space balanced and inclusive. These "resident artists" help to diversity our space and they are given the opportunity to grow and transform alongside us. While we do not provide direct services to non-disabled artists, they benefit from the abundance of resources in our community. Non-disabled artists can engage as studio renters, gallery guests, volunteers or residents that barter in exchange for free space.
Our studio is an open model space where artists work without walls. Artists in our space are painting, drawing, creating digital art and also making ceramics and fused glass. Artistic Directors, volunteers and fellow artists provide peer support that helps the artists create unique works of art. Finished works are shown in multiple gallery spaces and receptions celebrate works created in our studios. Rotating exhibits welcome the public to purchase affordable works of art. We invite Austin artists to exhibit in our community gallery with affordable rental rates.
Our daily life is a controlled chaos of artists coming in and out, making art, gardening, eating meals together and showing off their talents on the gallery walls. We occasionally have workshops, camps, classes, Bible studies or other special events. These opportunities come and go as artists are inspired to teach or learn. More than 65 artists are accessing our space each week. Imagine Art provides a noontime meal five days a week and a dinner once a week, serving more than 450 plates a month.
It is hard to fully describe who we are and what we do. Drop in the studio for your own first hand experience. We are located at 2830 Real Street, Austin 78722.