About the Artist
ArtUs Co (formally known as Pump Project) is a nonprofit art organization with a mission to enrich and reinforce Austin's creative community through working artist studios and exhibition facilities. Come check us out at The Arboretum, where we have two spaces this year! Our first space is our community and coworking space (next to Amy's Ice Cream) and our second space is a large storefront around the corner where the works of over 100 local creative makers and artists will be displayed!
ArtUs Co, originally called Pump Project, started back in 2005 as a way to combat the severe lack of visual art studios and exhibition opportunities—a problem that continues to this day as Austin continues to lose its unique creative spaces. From 2005 to 2018, we operated a warehouse complex where we provided residencies, affordable studios, community events, and gallery exhibition opportunities for hundreds of local artists, and we were a cornerstone stop of the highly successful East Austin Studio Tour. In 2018, we lost our space when the building we were occupying sold. However, we continued our mission at friendly organizations while we searched for a new location in the highly competitive Austin real estate market. We took this interim period to change our name to ArtUs Co, as we felt the name Pump Project was tied closely to both the original location and the people who were part of that journey. In late 2019, we began working with the property manager of Washington Prime Group (WPG) who offered us a beautiful 9000 square foot commercial space at The Arboretum: a major commercial center. Initially meant to be a temporary pop-up for 100+ local artists during the holidays, we were such a popular hit that they invited us to stay on. We started our regular gallery programming and events and continued until March 2020 when COVID-19 hit, after which we had to adjust to online programming and exhibits without opening receptions. In late 2020, WPG offered us a second longer-term space that offered us an opportunity to create a new arts space, and after much reflection and analysis regarding the state of the Austin real estate market, we concluded that our old model—which relied on inexpensive real estate to keep pricing affordable for artists—was no longer sustainable. Our new model, while still providing some studio space, is much more focused on shared resources and spaces and has a tiered membership model with price points accessible to all financial levels. While we have the space partially activated, it is still in the early stages as we continue to grow our member base through events, exhibitions, and social media outreach.