It’s safe to say (now that we can’t jinx anything), the end of 2022 has all of us here at the Long Center breathing a sigh of relief. Though this year still had some ups and downs, and we can’t quite shake off some lingering pandemic perils, we’re pretty proud of what 2022 has turned out to be and what our nonprofit team — along with a whole host of partners, supporters, and every Austinite out there — has accomplished.

Our 2022 goal was to make curiosity live and in-person, and we did just that! So whether you joined us for a performance, a Drop-In, a night on the town, or a spin on the ice (psst… Geoji’s ice rink ends January 1st), we just wanted to say “thanks” and share a few reasons why this year was our most curious year yet.

4 WAYS 2022 WAS OUR ‘YEAR OF CURIOSITY’

The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn

A Destination for the Curious

As 2022 dawned, we were ready to rock and roll, not knowing what the year might have in store. Coming out of topsy-turvey 2021, though, we were ready to reach for the stars. Can we do… everything? we asked. The answer? “Yeah, kinda!” With no holds barred, the Long Center became a destination for the curious, and boy did Austinites show us how curious they really were. 

In fact, so curious that they ate up 16 free community events and attended 50+ shows at the LC this year. And that’s not even counting the almost 70 performances put on by our friends at the Ballet, Symphony, and Opera, who are not only back in full swing but also experiencing some of their best seasons in years.

Jess Williamson, Brynn Osborn
José González, Brynn Osborn

The feverish need to feed our collective curiosity didn’t stop there. The Long Center was home to hundreds of artists this year, of all makes, shapes, and sizes. There were 225+ artists on our stages in 2022, but countless more helped to produce, manage, and work hard to make sure those artists looked and sounded great. We kept going, welcoming more creative and visual arts into the building in new ways than ever before. Look out for more vendor markets and exhibitions in Gallery 701, the newest space in which we’re sharing the stories, perspectives, and creations of Austin’s visual artists.

One thing is for sure — this year has made our Long Center team into a group of curiosity fiends, and we can’t wait to see what wild and wonderful combinations of sound, sight, and experience we land on next.

The Octopus Project @ The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn

Curious Listeners

Speaking of curiosity fiends, will Austin’s curiosity ever run out?? It could never, because 2022 yet again demonstrated that the breadth and depth of the city’s musical interest is infinite. Presenting countless musical genres, performance types, and opportunities to discover something new made the Long Center THE place for curious listeners in 2022, and you never stopped showing up to devour more of the sounds that make Austin so unique.

Together with our fantastic partners, we celebrated traditional music and dance of our Hispanic neighbors for Univision 62’s El Grito event. We turned a new spotlight on jazz with a 5-band celebration of International Jazz Day and the first-ever Dell Hall appearance of jazz icon Christian McBride with locals Brannen Temple Express. We also had the time of our lives at the Third Annual Pride in Local Music Fest with the Austin LGBT Chamber.

Tribe Mafia @ Summer Jam, courtesy of KUTX & KAZI

Sounds of all kinds flowed this summer. Thousands of music-lovers from all over town enjoyed 12 free Drop-In shows, supporting 50+ of Austin’s new and upcoming homegrown artists. It doesn’t get better than an Austin summer of free music, and your continued support means we can show up for local artists every day and keep The Drop-In going year after year.

We turned things up a notch with KUTX’s & KAZI’s Summer Jam, hosted by Confucius & Fresh of The Breaks. With a lineup boasting Geto Gala, Anastasia Hera & The Heroes, Moody Bank$, and Tribe Mafia, this was the most hip-hop the LC had seen in a long time. We hear that 2023 is hip-hop’s 50th anniversary… could we see more?

Daivd Garza @ The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn
The Album Leaf @ lookOUT Fest, Sophia Lawson

Our ultimate curiosity this year was lookOUT Fest, the culmination of a long, fruitful exercise in ingenuity, creativity, and “newness” that this town had been missing these last few years. With a curated combo of musical, visual, and creative arts, we welcomed new genres, new sounds, and new arts-lovers to the Long Center in a celebration for the ages. Getting to see The Album Leaf on the same ticket as Mary Lattimore, Julianna Barwick, and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith with locals The Kraken Quartet and Felt Out, was just the icing on the cake. Plus, when was the last time you got to catch a DJ set from KUTX’s Soundfounder?

With lineups like these, we’re working hard to continue our commitment to Austin’s culture and its incredible spectrum of diversity, and especially how that’s reflected on our stages. Look out for more incredible lineups in 2023.

Crowd @ Black Violin, Brynn Osborn

Curious Communities

Perhaps nothing has been more rewarding this year than seeing all of this curious and creative energy channeled into support for local artists, problem-solving to expand accessibility, and events to bring communities closer together.

In 2022, we opened our doors to 50+ orgs and community partners by giving rental discounts to make our spaces as accessible as possible. Performances on our stages put $60,000+ dollars in the pockets of local artists. We again partnered with the City of Austin and distributed $2.6 million in critical funding to 1,248 members of Austin’s creative ecosystem through the Austin Music Disaster Relief Grant. How cool is that?

The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn

Even better, we saw different communities come together to support creativity and curiosity in 100+ ways, new and old, big and small. We celebrated Texas Reading Day with H-E-B and Camila Alves McConaughey, gathering thousands of students together to read. We then turned around and handed out free breakfast tacos and gathered donations for Central Texas Food Bank with the help of H-E-B and our friends at Luck Presents. We reveled in the return of ACL Radio’s live morning ACL Fest broadcasts, and were delighted that we could gather again to celebrate July 4th with big crowds, fireworks, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. And don’t worry, our furry friends were included, too, with Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s “Impressions of Tito’s Distillery Dogs over 25 Years” gallery in our Rollins Lobby. 

A very special and ultra-curious community, the Heller Awards for Young Artists took center stage this year. Back to its first in-person celebration since the pandemic, this Tony Awards-style ceremony for high school musical theatre in the Greater Austin area celebrated the hard work of 32 schools, 13 districts, and 6,500+ students. Stay tuned for 2023’s Awards Ceremony next April — we’ll be celebrating 10 years of HAYA!

Opening Number, Heller Awards for Young Artists
Texas Reading Day, Getty Images

We’ve also loved continuing to explore more of Austin’s curious communities through our Mid-Week Intermission newsletter. Just this year, we learned about the message behind an international piece of art, shared hand-crafted mixtapes from our lookOUT Fest artists, got a behind-the-scenes look at Austin PBS’s new media center, and learned more about a few of the Long Center team along the way. If curious communities are up your alley, sign up for our newsletter — you’ll get it in your inbox every other week so you’re always up-to-date.

Luna Luna @ The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn

Curious for 2023

Returning to our pre-pandemic routine of events, shows, partnerships, and more shows was great, but there were just a few things that we hadn’t imagined might come our way.

We were pleased as Punch when Austin Young Chamber voted us FAVE Arts & Culture Experience at their 13th Annual FAVE Awards. We were also beyond grateful to be named Best Non-Profit at the Austin LGBT Chamber’s 2022 Business of Pride gala. We hope this entices you to come join us for a show next year (or a second, or a third!) and experience the Long Center for yourself.

We’re not sure if you noticed, but not only were we taken over by Disney+ for SXSW, we also made it into a couple of things on Netflix. If you watched the streaming giant’s Look Both Ways rom-com starring Lili Reinhart and Luke Wilson… yep, that SXSW panel took place at the LC. And at the beginning of the year, a little, tiny, not-known-well-at-all show called QUEER EYE threw the Navarro High Vikings an ultra-dreamy Prom bash on our H-E-B Terrace. Definitely worth a re-watch when you get a chance.

LC Staff Celebrating Best Non-profit Win
Navarro High Prom, Queer Eye

All this to say, the Long Center has certainly come a long way in 2022, and we have you to thank for making us the destination for curiosity this year. We’ve deepened partnerships, forged some new ones, experimented and explored nonstop, and still found time to launch our TikTok (follow us, pretty please? we’re new here).

As for 2023, you’re going to want to make sure you’re following us on the social media platform of your choice (@longcenter) and checking on our calendar regularly. Not only are we super excited to host William Shatner in January and Ta-Nehisi Coates on MLK Jr. Day (together with a group of community partners ranging from Six Square to Austin Justice Coalition), but rumor has it our nonprofit is also turning 15 years old. 🤫

On that note, cue the Queer Eye re-watch and we’ll see you real soon.

Wishing you a safe & healthy New Year from all of us at the Long Center — here’s to a curious 2023!

Get this… your support matters! We hope you had as good a 2022 with us as we did with you. Anything you give goes right back to making it all happen at the Long Center. You did that!

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice or sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, and we’ll see you real soon.

The weather outside is… well, it’s not snowing. In fact, it’s a little balmy. But whether it’s cold or not, the holiday spirit in this town can’t be stopped. This season we’re making all your winter wonderland dreams come true with ice skating on the H-E-B Terrace!

Photo courtesy of Geoji

We teamed up with our friends at Geoji to bring the Rockefeller Center experience to ATX. Skate to your heart’s content, then fill up on fresh popcorn, cocoa, or a hot toddy. We recommend skating then enjoying a holiday spirit 😉 But hey, as long as you sign the waiver, you can do what you want.

Tickets start at $15, which includes the price of a your skate rental, and can be purchased at geoji.com. Snacks and drinks also cost money, but the vibes are totally free 😎

We’re not the only ones loving this new holiday tradition. Check out what our friends and neighbors are saying 👇

Ice Rink FAQs

Q: How can I get tickets?

A: Tickets are available at geoji.com starting at $15. 

Q: Does the ticket price include my skate rental?

A: Yes!

Q: When is the rink open?

A: The rink is open Monday through Friday from 3-10pm and Saturdays & Sundays  from 10am-10pm.

Be sure to tag us @longcenter when you post about your visit! We have serious FOMO when it comes to festive events. so please don’t leave us out 😉 Happy holidays from our LC family to yours!

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

H-E-B’s Feast of Sharing is back! After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s favorite grocer welcomed back friends from across the Austin area for a home-cooked holiday meal at the Palmer Events Center (howdy, neighbor!) on November 22.

H-E-B Feast of Sharing gives the iconic Texas company an opportunity to give thanks to its loyal customers and invites everyone to the dinner table. In the more than three decades H-E-B has held the celebrations, more than 375,000 volunteers have helped serve nearly four million meals.

But the love doesn’t stop there. Feast of Sharing isn’t limited to just the Austin area; H-E-B prioritizes this program all across the lone star state and into Mexico, too.

Volunteers plate food for guests at the H-E-B Feast of Sharing dinner, held at the Palmer Center in Austin, Nov. 22, 2022. SARA DIGGINS/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Feast of Sharing initiative is an integral part of H-E-B’s Hunger Relief Program, which works year-round to prevent hunger. Last year, H-E-B’s Hunger Relief Program donated 34 million pounds of food to families in need. Since the program was founded in 1982, H-E-B has donated more than 1 billion (yep, that’s a b) pounds of food to 5,500 non-profit organizations in Texas and Mexico. Check out if they’ll be celebrating in your area.

H-E-B also gives as good as they get. Not only do they put on major events like Feast of Sharing; they go above and beyond to support other like-minded organizations, like Central Texas Food Bank. Each year they support CTFB through grants, community events, and food donations. They’re not kidding when they say, “no store does more!”

As proud recipients of some H-E-B love, we also like to pay it forward. Last summer, our team took a day to volunteer at the Central Texas Food Bank 👉

Check out their volunteer page to see when you can pick up a shift. 

Long Center staff volunteering at Central Texas Food Bank on Aug. 1, 2022.

This Thanksgiving, our team was able to support Feast of Sharing by donating 70 tickets to our neighbors, thanks to H-E-B’s Community Sharing initiative. Now even more Austinites can come celebrate the arts at the Long Center!

Now that your heart is warm and you’re all inspired, what are you going to do to make a difference in your community this season?

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.