Blake Shanley has been working to develop and galvanize the changing commercial and cultural scene that surrounds the East End Cultural Heritage District, and has been responsible for creating events such as East End Fourth Fridays, that have generated renewed interest and excitement around the East 11th Street district. Blake shared that early on she fell well in love with the history of the area, which is storied and rich, and has its origins in segregation, and its glory in community and music.
Shea Little saw a problem and built a solution. The East Side was populated with artists, but there was little that showcased their work to Austin. So he built EAST, now in its ninth year. Annually, this event creates a dynamic art show in studios that spans styles, media, and many square miles.
During our conversation, we dug into how they defined and identified stakeholders and leaders in their scene, how they have convened those participants together online and off to generate collaboration, how they have evangelized their respective scenes to the broader Austin community, and their central challenges. The SceneLab was fortunate to have these two visit and share their expertise and experiences.