We’re a group of dedicated Austin educators, artists, philanthropists, parents and civic leaders united by the belief that when creativity and the arts are integrated throughout schools and communities, students are more engaged and learning deepens. On this principle, MINDPOP was founded to expand creative learning in Austin and throughout the country so that young people would improve their creative and cognitive skills in ways that help them succeed in school, in the workforce and in life. Led by Executive Director Dr. Brent Hasty, the MINDPOP staff is comprised of artists and educators recognized nationally as leaders and innovators working to transform communities through the arts and creative teaching.


Brent Hasty

Executive Director

Christy Savage

Operations Director

Jackson Knowles

Program Director

Sloan McLain

Education Director

Cory Stewart

Development Director

Solomon Masala

Program Director

Julia Vunderink

Program Associate


Collective Impact

MINDPOP staff offers expertise in designing and implementing collective impact initiatives to support community wide educational change efforts.


Experienced researchers, MINDPOP has conducted statewide research efforts on the impact of arts education on student achievement and access to arts, as well as in-depth research on the impact of Austin’s Creative Learning Initiative on students, teachers and the district.

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 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.


Chris Visit, Frank & Victor

Ellen Ray, Still Water Foundation

Jessica D’Arcy, Webber Family Foundation

Kelly Ballard, Director of Youth Entrepreneurship at Notley Ventures

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

Kyle Cox, ATP Fund

Michele Walker-Moak, Applied Material Foundation

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