We had the good fortune of connecting with lucy gross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi lucy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My business partner, Katie Stahl and I met working at an arts-focused day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities here in Austin. There were so many amazing artists but we lamented that there wasn’t a wider audience being exposed to their work. In 2017 we co-founded SAGE Studio, initially working out of my living room with one artist, Rick Fleming. A little over a year later we took the plunge and signed a lease on a refurbished shipping container in East Austin. The space functioned as a studio space for Austin-based artists and doubled as a gallery to exhibit the work of artists with disabilities across Texas. It was our goal to integrate the voices of SAGE’s artists with the medley of talented artists in Austin’s contemporary art community.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Katie and I have very different but complementary education and professional backgrounds; Katie received her master’s in Art Education and is a practicing artist herself. I am a ocial worker and special education teacher. I feel so grateful to have a partner that fills in expertise I lack. Working in tandem with one another, we’ve been able to exceed many of our initial projections for SAGE. We were named “Best Outsider Art Advocate” by the Austin Chronicle in 2018. We have had the opportunity to exhibit our artists’ work at New York’s international Outsider Art Fair in 2019 and 2020. In October of 2020, SAGE Studio artist, Rick Fleming, collaborated with Joe Biden’s campaign to produce original merchandise. All of these accomplishments support our mission to highlight the voices of Texas-based artists with disabilities and integrate their voices into the larger artistic conversation!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them for breakfast tacos at Veracruz and, after waiting the recommended number of minutes, dive into Barton Springs. Lunch and afternoon cocktails at Kinda Tropical before getting gussied up for dinner at Justine’s. The following day I’d be sure to take them to Martha’s Contemporary to see some amazing art before drinking Lone Stars, eating popcorn and listening to Merle Haggard at Donn’s Depot. I’d finish up with dinner at Better Half where we’d eat our weight in cauliflower tots!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
SAGE Studio is incredibly inspired by the many progressive studios across the country. Pioneer organizations like Creative Growth continue to inspire and drive the work we do!