Austin, TX
Grant Cycle:
Type of Grant:
General Operating Support

SAGE (Supporting Artistic Growth and Entrepreneurship) Studio & Gallery is a creative space in east Austin that provides adult artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) the materials, space, and support to produce, exhibit, and sell their art. Our mission is to nurture and amplify the voices of artists with disabilities, so that they may meaningfully engage in the social, economic, and creative life of the community. In Texas—which has the second highest population of individuals with disabilities in the U.S.—only 9% of people with IDD have a paid job in the community. In addition to the low rates of employment experienced by individuals with disabilities, the types of jobs available are generally quite limited, and people with disabilities are often given little choice when it comes to career paths. SAGE provides opportunities for artists with disabilities to do what they love, connect with other artists in the community, earn a wage, and seriously pursue a career in the arts.

SAGE Studio serves artists with disabilities through two main programs: our Studio Program and our Exhibition Program. Through our Studio Program, artists create work in our studio at Canopy—an arts complex in east Austin that is home to artist studios, art galleries, and other creative spaces—with all materials provided for them. We offer regular studio hours to these artists, allowing them to further their practice and build their portfolio of work. Each artist has their own work station, which is outfitted with supplies specific to their unique practice and artistic goals. SAGE’s staff, co-founders Lucy Gross and Katie Stahl, serve as facilitators, working alongside volunteers to provide collaborative support that differs for each artist. It includes introducing new materials, and providing assistance and occasional instruction while allowing each artist to guide their own artistic practice. The goal for participating artists is to explore new mediums, strengthen their artistic voice, and build a cohesive portfolio of work for exhibition. We also take full advantage of our location within Canopy and the diverse, professional creatives it houses. To help our artists further expand their artistic practice, on any given day, an artist may participate in a studio tour or gallery visit within the Canopy complex, or collaborate with an artist without disabilities working in the same genre.

Through our Exhibition Program, we host bimonthly exhibitions in our gallery to showcase the work of artists from our Studio Program alongside artists with IDD from across the country, and operate an online store with a selection of original art, prints, and merchandise. We also look for outside exhibition and licensing opportunities and collaborations for our artists, increasing their exposure nationally and internationally. The goal of the Exhibition Program is to provide opportunities for the artists we represent to earn money and to seriously pursue art-making as a career. As such, our artists are paid a 50% commission, equal to the commission rate of traditional art galleries, on all original artwork sold.

Since our founding in early 2017, SAGE has produced 25 in-house exhibitions, represented the work of 70+ artists, and facilitated shows for our artists in San Antonio, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. We have welcomed 12,000+ visitors into our gallery, paid over $140,000 in commissions to the artists we represent, and facilitated collaborations with high profile partners, most notably Vans (who featured the art of Charlie French on a pair of shoes) and Joe Biden (who personally commissioned artist Rick Fleming to draw a portrait to be reproduced on a tote). We have been featured in Hyperallergic, Arts + Culture Texas, and Forbes, and been recognized as Austin’s “Best Outsider Art Advocate.”