To the east side!
For the past three years, ABC’s heart and home has been in the heart of South Congress inside of Warby Parker. We are forever grateful to our good friends for opening up their doors to Austin Bat Cave and giving us more than just an office space. They provided for ABC a beautiful, sunlit classroom to inspire the next generation of writers and bring joy to so many of Austin’s children. We wrote stories and poems about curious grackles and pontificating kittens. We published three books featuring writing from hundreds of students. Warby Parker, you’ve been our best pals. Thanks for all the memories.
About our friendship these past few years, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, Dave Gilboa, said, “We’ve always been really excited about what Austin Bat Cave is doing and what they stand for. We share their view that young people yearn to express themselves through writing, and it’s been so wonderful to also share our space on South Congress with their team over the past few years. We can’t wait to continue supporting the incredible work they do for young people in Austin.”
In our South Congress space, we’ve hosted wonderful programs like our post-apocalyptic fiction summer camp, speechwriting and slam poetry workshops, adult writing classes with Karen Russell, and more. In the past year, however, ABC received new funding and greater community support. We’re growing, and it is time for us to leave our wonderful space on Congress and look forward.
We are excited to announce that Austin Bat Cave has a new home. Beginning this fall, Austin Bat Cave will live at 1210 Rosewood Avenue. The new space is surrounded by a beautiful garden with lots of writing inspiration for our kiddos. In our new East Austin location, we will be better equipped to offer after school tutoring to students from nearby Kealing Middle and Blackshear Elementary. In addition to our off-site programming, we’ll be hosting classes for kids, writing nights and workshops for adults, as well as events for the neighborhood.
Community has always been at the heart of Austin Bat Cave. Our organization began because S. Kirk Walsh and a community of writers believed that words have power and that communities are healthier when all perspectives, stories, and voices are taken into account. She envisioned an organization that would train local professionals — novelists, poets, educators, journalists — to bring free, high-quality writing workshops to schools with the goal of nurturing student voices.
What began in a single school over eleven years ago has now grown to over 40 free writing workshops all over Austin serving 1000 students each year. As a small team, our success and capacity is due in large part to our creative community of over 500 local volunteers, a passionate group that ABC has organized, mobilized and trained to bring a diverse array of workshops — from screenwriting to poetry to college essay writing — to local students ages 6–18.
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have the support of so many champions of art and writing. In the early days, when we needed space, our dear friends at Lewis Carnegie housed ABC for workshops and events and meetings. Not only did they open their doors to ABC, but they designed and helped publish our annual anthology thus giving voice to hundreds of students every year.
Home Slice Pizza—our dear South Congress neighbors, always had a delicious pizza pie for our campers and students. We’ve celebrated with carnivals and fantastic nights of storytelling. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that we won’t be a quick jaunt down the road from you for a hot, fresh slice. Sara Ronder and Julie Pearson and the entire Home Slice team, thank you for supporting youth voices!
Moving to a new community is exciting. While we’re going to miss all of our neighbors, we can’t wait to make more new friends in this lovely city.