When Creativity has a Home - the Center for Creative Action

Besides designing TROPHYOLOGY’s executive awards and corporate gifts, founder and creative director Eva Schone enjoyed her work as a project architect with Tom Hurt Architecture in Austin, Texas.

These two parts of Eva’s creative work come together in a project that is very special to her and that embodies many of the values that we hold dear at TROPHYOLOGY.

Earlier this month, ground was broken in East Austin for the new headquarters building for Creative Action. This nonprofit group, headed by executive director Karen LaShelle, inspires youths to learn academically, socially and emotionally through arts activities. Creative Action serves more than 18,000 children a year in our community.

Tom Hurt Architecture was selected to be the architecture firm for the new building in 2009, and it was Eva’s distinct pleasure to be the project architect for this project. Working closely with Tom Hurt, she designed the building and managed the design process. “We’ve been working on this project for the past 3 ½ years,” Eva says. “This has been a dream project for me. It is has every aspect that I am looking for as an architect.“ Slated to open in September 2014, the building, situated on a triangular lot that challenged the architects, will have 7,500 square feet over two stories. The ground floor will welcome program participants in classroom spaces, and the upper floor will house Creative Action’s administrative offices.

The story of the project begins several years ago, when the Meredith family, which is well known for their significant philanthropic contributions in Austin, had a vision to create a community hub in East Austin, adjacent to the MLK light rail stop. The Sustainable Food Center and PeopleFund are the other two organizations that form the trifecta of the new “Chestnut Social Profit Village.” In addition, the development will include an amphitheater, trails, a skate park and community gardens.

The new Center for Creative Action was designed to have generous views of the community gardens and rooms filled with daylight, which was important to Eva. “Natural light has such positive effects on children and learning.” Eva notes. In addition, ”operable windows will allow the building users to “live with the seasons,” she says. Reclaimed brick will bring a quality material to the building. Eva is proud that the project team was able to secure the reclaimed brick at a reduced price, assisting the sustainability of the building in more than one way. A prominent brick exterior wall will continue throughout the building like a spine, Eva says, so that the beautiful, history-rich brick can be appreciated both on the outside and on the inside.

The building’s young users were kept in mind during the design process. “We have playful elements in the design that I’m really proud of,” Eva says. Overall, the goal of design was to give the staff and the participants of Creative Action an inspiring place to learn, work and play and a place where they will feel valued.

“Beautiful environments make us more inspired, healthier and more productive,” Eva says. “That’s what we’re trying to do with TROPHYOLOGY as well” — communicating quality, value and the importance of showing others that they are valued, which is a basic human need. “Buildings have an enormous power to communicate this,” she says.

TROPHYOLOGY is pleased to collaborate with Tom Hurt Architects on the donor recognition for the new building. Creative Action has already raised two-thirds of the overall capital campaign goal and entered the final public fundraising phase last week.

A pathway leading to the building and a donor recognition installation in the foyer of the new building will show Creative Action donors how much they are appreciated. TROPHYOLOGY drew inspiration from a past TROPHYOLOGY Collection for Hanger Inc. in which colored pencils formed the backdrop for the company’s colorful logo on stationery cases. Realizing that the pencils would make a great symbol of Creative Action’s artful mission, Eva suggested incorporating them into the donor recognition installation. The lines of cabinetry in the foyer will extend to form panels that will have donor names cut out of them. The colored pencils will be placed behind the cutouts, creating the contrast to each name. The panels will also feature areas with fully exposed colored pencils to show off the beautiful color range of the pencils.

You can see more sketches and models of the project on the Tom Hurt Architecture website, and learn more about Creative Action at creativeaction.organd at the When Creativity has a Home Campaign.

We’re thrilled to see the building take shape and for all the creative learning that will take place there. We hope to see you at the ribbon cutting in 2014!


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Phone: 512.788.4558
Email: eva(at)trophyology.com