9th Annual Little Artist BIG ARTIST Art Show

Please join us on Thursday, April 27 from 6–8pm at the Dougherty Arts Center for our 9th Annual Art Show! The Spring Art Exhibition is the culmination of 10 weeks of work by our 40 Little Artists.

These 5th and 6th graders represent six East Austin elementary schools. Each Little Artist will show one of their two artworks alongside one of their BIG ARTIST mentor’s pieces.

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We’ll also have live music from the Blackshear Soundwaves Orchestra, Maplewood Ukulele Choir, Allison Dragon Choir and the Barbara Jordan Choir. The reception is free, and Spanish translation will be provided. Come out and experience a unique Austin art scene!

Find out more information on the event page.

An Interview with Gabi Williams a Little Artist Ambassador

Learn about the experiences of Gabi Williams, our first Little Artist Ambassador, who went from being a student in our LaBA program to exhibiting at the 2016 Cherrywood Art Fair.

First, I’d like to know about your overall experience in the Little Artist BIG ARTIST program, and how has it impacted you personally within your artistic goals?
Answer: My close friend Stella and I were paired up with a weaver named Patricia Day. Visiting her home/studio and being exposed to the life of a full time artist was amazing to see as a fifth grader. It was the first time I realized that I could potentially go into an artistic career and make a living off of my art. Overall, it motivated me to take more art classes and become more interested in the art world.

What did you enjoy the most during your Little Artist BIG ARTIST mentoring sessions?
Answer: I very much enjoyed being able to work in an artist’s studio. Seeing someone with that dedicated work space was inspirational. I also enjoyed being able to discuss the process of selling art with someone who knew all about it.

If you were to give advice to a young artist what would that be?
Answer: I would tell a young artist to create as much as they can. The best practice is making art whenever possible. I would also suggest experimenting and learning about different media types because you never know what you are going to end up enjoying.

How did your BIG ARTIST help you and what was important in your relationship?
Answer: Participating in the LaBA program has really been a big part of my artistic career because it is something that sets me apart from others. I thought more people at my Fine Arts high school would have been in LaBA but there are only a few of us. When I applied to the program at McCallum Fine Arts, I brought the pieces I created alongside Patricia as part of my portfolio. I think having that unique, individual artwork was what made it possible to be accepted to the Fine Arts Academy. Having input and creative critique from someone other than family or teachers was one of the best things about working with Patricia


Gabi, although only 15 years old now, represents exactly what we are trying to accomplish with the Little Artist BIG ARTIST Program, future creatives developing a sustainable future. She is a graduate of the Little Artist BIG ARTIST Program and was one of our ambassadors at the Cherrywood Art Fair (CAF) last year. Gabi had a booth set up next to her BIG ARTIST at the Cherrywood Art Fair and sold her very own art pieces.

Attend the Little Artist BIG ARTIST Opening Night Reception on April 27, 2017 from 6–8 pm at the Dougherty Arts Center to see the works of our 2017 LaBA Program Class. The Spring Art Exhibition will continue to be displayed through May 21.

If you’d like to get involved in the Little Artist BIG ARTIST Program click here for more information.

Introducing Our New Executive Director

The Chula League Board of Directors is pleased to announce our new Executive Director, Ann Flemings.
Ann Flemings is an artist, mother, wife, and nonprofit all-star! Ann joins us from UT Austin where she worked with the Butler School of Music and the Jackson School of Geosciences. Always committed to local nonprofits, she currently serves as a board member of Generous Art and she served on the St. David’s Episcopal Church Grants committee. Ann is also a professional artist with a studio in East Austin.

Ann brings the perfect background to lead our charge in helping to fuel and sustain the arts in East Austin. Let’s learn a little more about her and her plans for Chula League…

You’ve been on the job just over two months. What has been your impression of Chula League so far?

I am amazed at how well run this small, volunteer-based, nonprofit is! It has created a sustainable income stream through the Cherrywood Art Fair (CAF) and we are so effective at managing money that neighborhood organizations have engaged us to serve as fiduciary on their behalf. That says a lot about the professionalism of the Chula League board.

We are doing so much, on such a small budget, to help the arts thrive in East Austin. We provide a productive marketplace for artisans to sell their work. We cultivate the next generation of artists as they turn their concepts into art, and their art into a business. Chula is doing its part to provide the tools needed to make the arts sustainable in East Austin.

The most heartwarming thing about Chula is the people. Everyone has been so welcoming! Our board members are committed to making this organization shine and some of our program volunteers have been with us for many years. It says to me that there is a lot of passion here, and I think it must be great fun to be a Chula volunteer.

What excites you about this position and how does it build on your prior professional experiences?

With my background in fundraising, I hope to expand our grant funding for Little Artist, BIG ARTIST (LaBA) and I am keen to build a donor base of individuals that support our mission. Right now, I am working on expanding sponsorships for the Cherrywood Art Fair.

The past 15 years have seen the fair grow to become one of the most anticipated holiday shopping events on the “shop local” scene. The Cherrywood Art Fair proceeds benefit Little Artist, BIG ARTIST, thus it becomes a real win-win for our sponsors. As a free, afterschool arts mentorship program, LaBA brings the best of Austin artists together with East Austin elementary school children and creates a 10 week experience which empowers all involved.

If we can increase fair sponsorships by 20%, that will help Little Artist BIG ARTIST go just a bit further. Opportunities are still available to co-brand your business with one of the few juried art fairs in Austin, so give me a call!

What do you think are the most significant opportunities for the organization? Challenges?

We are expanding the Little Artist, BIG ARTIST program and adding artist professional development workshops. The more people understand what we are working to accomplish, the bigger impact Chula League will be able to make. Board leadership is creating a strategic marketing plan to share our message with the goal to engage more people across all channels.

My job is to put the right resources in place — dedicated volunteers, adequate funds and beneficial partnerships — to move our programs forward. Working with the board, listening to our constituents and heeding the advice of our volunteers is important to my role. In fact, a fundamental responsibility of Chula League is to assure our programs thrive and that our volunteers are provided for and valued.

If you could say one more thing to supporters of Chula League, what would it be?

It is an exciting time to be part of Chula League. Become a volunteer with our programs, serve as a BIG ARTIST mentor or apply to the Cherrywood Art Fair. Donate to us and help raise Chula’s star across the 6,000 nonprofits that call Austin home. I encourage everyone to put the Chula League at the top of your “gift list” this year. We want to make giving to Chula a year-round habit.

Thank you for letting me share some thoughts about the future of Chula League. Please contact me at ann@chulaleague.com to get involved with us.

Amplify Austin & Little Artist BIG ARTIST

Quick – what was your favorite thing to draw, paint, sculpt, doodle, sew or craft when you were a kid? Do you still do that today?

Our Little Artist BIG ARTIST program is an arts based mentoring program that nurtures creativity and shows kids that being a professional artist can be deeply satisfying on a personal AND commercial level. Kids, educators, and parents love this program and we think you will too!

Help us bring this program to more kids by donating a few dollars during Amplify Austin on March 8th and 9th. It doesn’t take much and it really does make a difference!

Giving Tuesday: Make Art Lessons Possible For East Austin Kids!

Tuesday, December 1st is #GivingTuesday, an annual holiday that encourages people to give back after a weekend of holiday shopping. This year, we’d appreciate you considering Chula League as a donation recipient. Your donation will go right toward our Little Artist BIG ARTIST program.

Our Little Artist BIG ARTIST program provides an opportunity for 5th and 6th grade elementary school students to celebrate creativity, develop personal expression, and strengthen social skills through professional artist mentorships. AND they get to create some really cool art with professional BIG ARTISTS who donate their time such as Brian David Johnson, Sandy Bowie, Elly Fleegal and Jess Moss.

On Dec. 1st, you can support the program or even adopt a little artist! Donate here.

Your donation of $25 will cover the purchase of art supplies for two little artists and gets you an invite to the 2016 LaBA Spring Art Show!

A $75 or more donation from you will help fund the Art Show, and get those amazing works of art framed and hung! We’ll also send you an invite and list your name on event signage.

And, your gift of $250 or more covers enrollment & funds the entire 10 week program for 1 deserving little artist. In appreciation, we’ll put your name or logo on event signage and the website.

Fun Facts:

Chula League has been offering FREE art lessons to 178 East Austin children since 2007.

The Little Artist BIG ARTIST program includes a Spring Art Show at ReNEW East Art Complex where the little and BIG artists show off their artwork.

You can own one of their creations! Come to the Cherrywood Art Fair on Dec. 12th & 13th and bid on your favorite artwork at the silent auction. All proceeds are donated back to the Little Artists’ school art programs.

We need your help to grow and expand the LaBA program so that more kids can experience a positive, art focused after school mentorship program that is truly transformative for both little artists and BIG ARTISTS.