A new headquarters for DAWA Studios, a community arts project dedicated to investing in Austin's diverse arts scene, is opening in East Austin. The new 1,100-square-foot creating space welcomes Austin artists, hosting live and filmed events, screenings and podcasts.

The details

Like DAWA’s previous location on 5th Street, the new HQ will offer local artists access to professional production and audiovisual equipment. Free studio access is available on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The studio will celebrate its grand opening with live performances Nov. 17-19. Artists Ivy Roots, Geto Gala and Quentin Arispe are scheduled to perform Nov. 17.

DAWA stands for Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action. Jonathan Mahone, also known as Chaka, is the studio’s founder and director.

“[I started] giving money to folks that are creating space for Black music to thrive in Austin because the majority of genres that you hear in Austin come from Black people,” Mahone said.

DAWA helped launch successful artists such as BLK ODYSSY, providing not only a free studio space, but valuable connections as well.

“This would be, like, a perfect place for me to just come and immediately meet people that are photographers, videographers, engineers, you name it,” Mahone said. “You know those people are going to be in this space.”

The full story

Mahone and his wife moved to Austin 14 years ago to make music. Mahone decided to start DAWA to help support budding artists in the city in 2018. Since then, DAWA has transformed into four major efforts: DAWA Fund, Vision:8291, DAWA Studios and the Black Live Music Fund.

“There wasn't really support that really understood us as Black artists, us as hip-hop artists,” Mahone said. “I always felt like coming up there was a gap. There's something that was needed specifically for someone like me coming into the city or even someone who has been here that understood our perspective and understood kind of the need that we had.”