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Art college relocates to downtown Bastrop

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    Members of the team that brought The Art Institute of Austin to Bastrop posed for a group photo of the partnership that included members of the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, the City of Bastrop, the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos and New Republic Studios. County and state officials were also present.

The Art Institute of Austin is relocating its campus to Bastrop from Round Rock.

The announcement was made on Thursday in a press conference hosted by the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). The Arts Institute, in cooperation with the City of Bastrop, the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos and New Republic Studios, are developing a long-term partnership. The Institute, which will be located at 921 Main Street, will be the first institution of higher learning in Bastrop. The campus plans to relocate its campus to Bastrop by the summer of 2020. Once approval has been received from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Institute will sign a 10-year lease for the 921 Main building which is being built by BEDC. Construction costs for the facility have already been approved by the BEDC. Additional leases will be signed with the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos and New Republic Studios to provide other facilities for the campus.

The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, was founded in 2008. It is one of The Art Institutes, a system of private, nonprofit schools located throughout the United States that extends back to 1921. The institution offers diplomas through bachelor's degrees in the areas of design, media arts, culinary and fashion.

“Bringing the Art Institutes to Bastrop is a significant milestone for our community,” said Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroeder, who also serves on the BEDC 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.”

“We are honored to partner with the Art Institutes on this new campus," said Mark Rose, president of the Lost Pines Art League board of directors. "We are excited to share the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos with the new school, fostering an even greater appreciation of the arts in our city and training up the next generation of artists.”

Rose also mentioned that in the initial development of the Art Center, it was not the group’s intent to replace or restore the many art artifacts, instruments and other priceless objects that were destroyed during the 2011 Complex Fires, but rather to create new treasures that can build a new cultural awareness in the community. This partnership helps to fulfill that vision.

As an extension to what students learn in the classrooms at 921 Main Street and the Lost Pines Art Center and Silos, New Republic Studios will provide a unique, immersive experience in coordination with local industry professionals. Students will have access to New Republic Studios production facilities, audio engineering rooms and other ancillary spaces where they will gain hands-on experience and see their potential future careers in action. The Art Institute of Austin will offer a variety of programming across the three proposed facilities. Its film and production courses will be a featured program at the campus, as part of a unique collaboration with New Republic Studios.

“This is a huge opportunity to give The Art Institute students a hands-on, real-world experience, connecting them directly to those are working professionally in the creative industries," said Mindy Raymond, president of New Republic Studios, "allowing for internships, mentorships and a chance to take a deep dive into what it takes to truly make a living in their chosen field. This symbiotic relationship can be enhanced through the years as both New Republic Studios and The Art Institute look to expand in both vision and reach.”

The campus will bring many jobs to Bastrop over the next 10 years, with an anticipated enrollment of 500 to 550 students. This will provide a positive economic impact on local real estate, hospitality and retail while creating a college community that provides an opportunity for creativity in Bastrop.