Finding like-minded creatives in a sprawling city isn’t as easy as it looks. Discovering affordable studio space in which to create is no picnic either.
Photographer and filmmaker Austin Mann spent years traveling the globe working with charitable organizations, yet he longed to make a difference a little closer to home. The result is Weld, the “carefully curated community” he founded in June 2012.
“I was working a lot as a photographer and spending lots of time traveling. At the end of 2011, while planning the next year, I realized I traveled over 140 times in the past year to a different location,” he says.
The Weld concept has been successful enough that founder Austin Mann is looking for a second location in Nashville.
“I was reflecting on how I can make a bigger impact, and I dreamed of ways I could do more to enable those around me to achieve their visions and their dreams. A great space could solve a lot of problems for independent creatives.”
Called Weld because “it’s the idea of bringing two separate pieces together and making a strong bond,” the 10,000-square-foot building on Farrington Street offers studio space, instructive labs, and the possibility of a supportive community of colleagues. Now 75 strong, the concept has been successful enough that Mann is looking for a second location in Nashville.
To celebrate its anniversary, Weld is holding a year-end retrospective event on December 18 at 7 pm, showcasing 80 photographs from 20 artists curated by Mann’s colleague, former National Geographic director of photography Sabine Meyer, along with video and motion content from other Weld members.
With themes that include travel/landscape, illustration and portraiture, each 12-by-18-inch image is shockingly affordable — just $60 each — making it the perfect gift for the photography fan on your list.
“The reason we did that and the purpose of the show is massive exposure,” Mann says. “We’d like to see these works out and about, and we want people to enjoy them and have the chance to take them home.”
Supported by a growing list of benefactors, including local Dallas startups and Weld residents ZenCash and Need, Weld’s third year promises more innovation and impact inside the Dallas arts community.
As Mann solidifies his company’s presence in Tennessee, he looks forward to the day that Weld outposts will be scattered across the United States. “I don’t think it’ll be in every urban center, but I’d love to see Weld in eight to 10 communities across America. That’s the long-term vision, and hopefully that will come to pass.”