Long Center’s 2023 in Stories (Because Every Artist Has One)

Every artist has a story, and this year at the Long Center we’ve worked hard to put those voices front and center. We recognize the artist in everyone, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite stories from 2023 — from secret confessions to coming-of-age, and even stories that seem out of this world. All of them are 100% Austin. 

As an arts non-profit in the heart of downtown, we know that creativity is vital! If you feel the same (and we think you probably do), consider making your year-end gift to the Long Center today, so we can all support Austin’s creatives & creativity together.

Dive into these stories from around our community that describe why creativity is at the center of our mission.
photo by Brynn Osborn

This is the premise of the Song Confessional Podcast, a collaboration between KUTX Studios and musicians Walker Lukens & Zac Catanzaro. Long story short, they collect stories (confessions, if you will), and then pair those stories with a local artist who creates a song out of it. Then everything gets revealed in an episode.

Big hits like Croy & The Boys’  “Don’t Let Me Die in Waco” have emerged from this creative process. You can check out the booth and give your own confession in our Rollins Lobby when you’re at the Long Center next.

Lanston Lee, DLC Photography / The Jimmy Awards

In this coming-of-age story we followed Langston Lee, a Rouse High School alumnus. In his senior year, he captivated the Heller Awards for Young Artists — Long Center’s program and Tony Awards-style ceremony celebrating musical theatre in area high schools — and took home an award for Best Lead Performer. Next, he catapulted to Nationals and took home Best Performance by an Actor at The Jimmys in New York City. Incredible!

While not every student who particpates in the Heller Awards aspires to be on Broadway, the creativity on show every year never ceases to amaze us. Keep an ear to the ground for more about this free program soon.

The Drop-In, photo by Sophia Lawson

Created by Austin-based company ICON Build as a gift to the city, this stage is layer upon layer of 3d-printed concrete, framed by our iconic skyline view. This story comes to you from Brooke Baugess, an ICON VP, and includes ins and outs about its construction, ICON’s vision for the future, and the creativity it took to bring this project to fruition.

Now we can firmly say that we feel as though we’re in the future, and anyone performing on our lawn is experiencing an out-of-this-world performance space as creative as they are. Have you experienced it yet?

photo courtesy of Flora & Fawna

We love this story from local band Flora & Fawna because it proves how young local musicians continue to innovate in Austin. 

A highlight of The Drop-In’s lineup this year was duo Lili Hickman and Mason Ables, two native Austinites who chose to rejuvenate an a-typical genre for the Austin scene — pop. In a town where indie music with a bluegrass edge tends to rule the roost, Flora & Fawna are looking at how new crowds and a more diverse music scene can keep Austin’s creatives moving at the speed of sound.

photo by Brynn Osborn

If you attended The Drop-In this year, chances are a blond, long-haired beauty caught your eye — we’re talking about Tater, the mini dachshund of Austinite Jo!

Jo & Tater are proud Long Center Members who see their support of our non-profit as a direct line to everything they love about this city — its creativity, thriving arts scene, and the community it brings with it. Plus, you never know who or what you might discover at The Drop-In

photo courtesy of Adrian Landon Brooks

As the Long Center is expanding what it means to be a performing arts center in Austin, we’re actively working to showcase and support more types of creativity over and above what happens on our stages.

For a walk on the visual arts side, this story comes from local muralist & painter Adrian Landon Brooks. We collaborated with him on a Long Center tote to celebrate our 15th Anniversary, our commitment to local artists of every kind and, of course, the power of creativity. ⚡

There you have it — this is what we mean when we say that creatvitiy is vital.

For all the other ways we’ve supported Austin creatives this year, check out our 2023 Wrap-Up Report. With a donation today, you’re helping the Long Center expand and strengthen creative connections across all of Austin, next year and beyond! 


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.

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Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!