At MINDPOP, we use the tools of collective impact to bring equity and access to quality arts education in schools and communities, and to build the instructional tools of teachers to lead creative classrooms. Our approach combines empirical research, a strong theoretical base and decades of practical experience.

We are the backbone organization of Austin's Creative Learning Initiative (CLI), a partnership between the City of Austin, Austin Independent School District and over 200 arts partners. In its 9th year, CLI is embedded in 97 participating schools, serving 4,000 educators and 50,000 students.

Nationally, MINDPOP shares its knowledge and expertise with learning systems leaders through short and long term consulting engagements, as well as convenings of national communities of practice.


Brent Hasty

Executive Director

Jackson Knowles

Program Director

Sloan McLain

Education Director

Willie Garza

Education Associate

Christy Savage

Operations Director

Julia Vunderink

Program Associate

Solomon Masala

Senior Consultant

History and Background

In 2010, leaders from across our community decided to work across institutions to ensure equity, access and quality in creative learning and the arts for all Austin students. It represented a unique opportunity for school leaders, philanthropy, higher education, government and the arts community to pool their resources to make significant change in the lives of our young people. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in support of our efforts, chose Austin as the 7th Partner City for their Any Given Child Initiative providing excellent facilitation of a strategic long-range plan.

With a solid plan and leadership in place, Austin ISD committed to a 10 year plan to make all schools arts-rich and creative campuses; the City of Austin included the effort in the 20-year comprehensive plan Imagine Austin; and an anonymous donor boosted the initiative by committing a $1,000,000 to help high-poverty schools reach their creative campus goals.

Today, the initiative is thriving, and meeting all benchmarks towards making all schools arts-rich by 2023 and assuring all students live in neighborhoods with creative learning opportunities. With 100+ arts partners, several departments within Austin City government, and thousands of Austin ISD school leaders, students in the Creative Learning Initiative receive increased access to arts learning in music, visual arts, dance and drama; increased experiences through community arts organizations; receive the academic and cognitive benefits of creative teaching across the curriculum; and much more. Teachers receive intensive professional development in research-based instructional techniques, and artists have access to additional training and a coordinated system that helps them serve more students. Even the facilitators through the parks and recreation system receive professional development in creative teaching. Our effort addresses all the players in the creative learning system, helping assure all students have access to the arts and the benefits of creative learning.

Thanks to the vision of the MINDPOP founders, attendance and student engagement has increased in schools and students are showing a boost in academic achievement and creative development. As a result, our students are better prepared for college, career and life.

Board of Directors

Chris Visit, Frank & Victor

Christian Clarke Cásarez, Austin ISD

Ellen Ray, Still Water Foundation

Jessica Slade, Webber Family Foundation

Kevin Brown, Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, LLP

Kyle Cox, ATP Fund

Michele Walker-Moak, Applied Material Foundation

Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation

Applied Materials Foundation

Austin Non-Profit Relief Grant

City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

Emerson-Griffin-Toring Private Foundation

Genevieve and Ward Orsinger Foundation

Harris & Ann Clark

John T. Savage

Michael and Alice Kuhn Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts

Powell Foundation

Still Water Foundation

Susan Vaughan Foundation

Suzanne Deal Booth

Texas Commission on the Arts

The Magnolia Charitable Foundation

Webber Family Foundation

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