Austin organization launches no-cost studio

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AUSTIN, Texas – Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone is the founder of DAWA, a grassroots organization that represents diversity and wellness in action. One movement, Mahone says, is focused on supporting and showcasing creative artists of color in the capital.

Jonathon “Chaka” Mahone, founder of DAWA. (Spectrum News 1/Lakisha Lemons)

“The reason we want to do this is because of the barriers I’ve faced as a creative, so everything I thought should be here is here and if it’s not, we’re going to. bring here,” Mahone said.

Mahone believes access is key for content creators. With the launch of DAWA, he intends to offer artists a space to express themselves for free.

“Everyone who lives in the city who is like me, who is creative and who drove this [studio] going to take them faster and faster than they can even imagine,” Mahone explained.

The donation-based studio is in downtown Austin. The space includes a podcast room, a 3-camera setup, and the ability to record music and edit video in real time.

Antojuan Maurvice Spoons Jr., 23, is an artist who raps and plays the saxophone. After a two-year hiatus from the studio, Spoons says he’s happy to be back in a creative space.

“I haven’t always had the funds. I worked two jobs while I was in school. My parents helped me finish my studies, but I also have to work several jobs to allow me to spend time in the studio. Time in the studio sometimes cost $60 an hour just to work with someone decent,” Spoons said.

BIPOC creatives interested in the free studio can apply for the program online at www.dawaheals.org.

“I feel like DAWA is medicine, and it’s going to bring a lot of life and a lot of energy, and I feel like the next generation of artists and creators are going to come out of here. They’ll bring an international name to this city and people are really going to see the incredible talent that lives here, who are also people of color,” Mahone said.

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