Founded in 2004 as a community art collective, The South Austin Popular Culture Center (SouthPop) became a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization in 2006 and is dedicated to being a world class archive and repository of Austin music related art and ephemera.
Through the leadership of its board and staff, SouthPop catalogs and conserves a collection of comprehensive works that reflect the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns of Austin music related art and design from the 1960s through today. Through exhibitions and educational programs, the Center presents an archive that is recognized as a center of research, supporting scholarship and publications that further the cultural evolution of Austin.
SouthPop’s mission is to collect, conserve, exhibit, and interpret Austin art, design, music, and culture of the past 50 years and make that history accessible to local, national, and international audiences. SouthPop traces the evolution and social context of Austin’s cultural production, interpreting the impact of the artists, art forms, and recurrent themes that have profoundly shaped the city’s self-conception, on both a local and national level.
The South Austin Popular Culture Center seeks to create a dialogue between the established and the counter-culture, the past and present, in an environment that is responsive to the issues of the Austin music art scene. The Center serves a public that ranges from scholars to senior citizens to young people; giving ownership and understanding of Austin’s popular culture to those who create, consume, and define it. While quality remains the primary criterion, SouthPop pursues a broader educational purpose: to build a collection beyond an assemblage of masterworks, one that provides a comprehensive survey of this unique cultural movement.
As SouthPop enters into its tenth exhibit season, the Center has begun to outgrow its humble beginnings. Originally a small collection of privately owned posters, SouthPop now maintains a collection of over 3,000 physical objects of various formats, and a digital archive of over 10,000 images, photographs, sound and video files. Paid memberships have grown to over 100. In 2013, SouthPop’s economic impact was calculated by the Americans for the Arts system to total over $715,000, contributing $35,000 to local government revenue, and $40,000 to the state of Texas.