Founded in 1976 by a group of ambitious visual and performing artists, the Contemporary Arts Center still keeps in touch with its roots as an artist-driven community organization. The award-winning design of its ever-changing gallery, atrium, and theater spaces juxtaposes the original architecture of a turn-of-the-century warehouse building with newer materials and aesthetics. Within its 30,000 feet of open event space, the CAC hosts a range of events, such as curated contemporary exhibitions, world and local music performances, and special galas such as the SweetArts Bash.
When not coordinating exhibitions and performances, the CAC staff also leads educational programs such as one-day art camps, which expose children and adults to the arts. In these programs, professional local artists train groups in drama, dance, music, visual arts, and creative writing.
Dubbed a “powerhouse of comedy” by the Austin Chronicle, The New Movement unleashes a dizzying number of comedy shows that belie the institution’s young age. Founded in 2009 by improvisers Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, the theater and conservatory has already established itself in two cities, training fledgling performers in the art of the extemporaneous by inspiring them to take comedic risks on stage, whether it’s connecting emotionally with a character or performing actual surgery. Whether or not the performers are costumed or bearing props, they aim to create a fully realized world on stage through grounded situations and elegant but always creative transitions between scenes.
At Mid City Animal House, a dedicated staff gets tails wagging with hands-on attention to each four-legged visitor during grooming appointments, daycare sessions, and boarding stays. With the help of their affable bulldog, Brooklyn, they ensure that each visitor receives a full day of playtime, social interaction, and newspapers delivered to them for once.
Inside the paw-friendly playhouse, dogs maintain free reign over four rooms stocked with toys. An outdoor play area provides the animals with ample amounts of fresh air, and two puppy pools allow pets to stay cool during warm days. The staff conducts a temperament test for each dog prior to boarding to ensure safety and compatibility with the other animals.
Mattress Direct culls a variety of mattresses in textures ranging from firm to plush from brands such as Tempur-Pedic and Serta. Serta's iComfort, for example, evenly distributes support across the body with microsupport gel capsules nestled in its memory foam; a specialized material prevents overheating and the resulting unpleasant lava-chase nightmares. Mattress Direct's stock of bed frames, bed linens, and pillows allow patrons to assemble complete bedroom sets in one trip, and an express delivery service prevents the hassle of renting a moving truck or outfitting each leg of a new bed with a rollerblade.
"What do you want to create?" That is the question posed to each of New Orleans Paint N Party's visitors. During the studio's energetic parties, local artists teach visitors to put brush on canvas, creating colorful projects such as streetcars and city skylines. The staff keeps it simple. They greet each visitor with a presketched canvas and a trove of supplies, including brushes and paints. New Orleans Paint N Party also invites its customers to bring along food and potable beverages; they'll even supply the wine opener, ice bucket, ice pick, and drinking glasses.
Catherine and Scott McKearn leave no corner of the world unsearched in their quest to discover artisan furniture builders. The couple frequents faraway destinations in India, Indonesia, China, and Morocco to unearth beautiful solid-wood furniture to import directly to their three shops. In order to save their customers money, they buy pieces wholesale and ship them in 40-foot containers, bypassing both middlemen and price-gun-wielding pirates. Their furniture ranges in style from industrial to French country, and the eclectic selection rotates every few weeks to accommodate new shipments.