Mission & Vision
The Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA) is a community-driven space grounded in affordability, inclusivity and access for artists.
MoHA’s vision is for an empowered, resilient creative community where each member has the resources to foster well being, prosperity, and a self-determined future.
The Museum of Human Achievement of East Austin is a physical arts, community space, and organization based on principles of affordability and access. We provide affordable space and professional support to individuals and organizations that have historically lacked access to institutional resources. This support is tailored to meet people and organizations where they are and ranges from grant writing, legal assistance, production assistance, affordable or free office space, administrative assistance, financial planning, and individual micro-grants and commissions. The hope is that this kind of thoughtful practice of caring and capacity building of long-term infrastructural strategies can better support and grow new leaders within the under-resourced communities that still struggle to both maintain physical space and access resources in Austin.
To make sure we serve our community equitably our programs are led by a guiding body of 28 individuals in leadership (57% BIPOC, 45% LGBTQIA+, 12% non-binary, 53% women).
Accessibility/Diversity in digital arts
- An annual festival which celebrates, amplifies, and supports the unique and underrepresented in indie video games and play (Fantastic Arcade)
- VR, AR, and net.art exhibitions, performance, and education; emphasizing diversity among artists utilizing emerging technology (IRL)
Residencies and Cultural Exchange
- An international artist residency (Unlisted Projects)
- Accessible online gallery and artist residency providing monthly stipends (Welcome to My Homepage)
Supporting and Commissioning arts and music
- 24/7 public art gallery which champions and supports diverse artists (Cage Match)
- Mobile art gallery and store for local makers focused on uplifting women artists, queer artists, and artists of color (The Mall)
Mobile touring performance and platforms
- A Mobile Performance Center (Peanut)
- drive-in movies in partnership with neighborhood associations (CoHA)
These efforts result in producing over a hundred free public programs annually which integrate community vision, arts, and social practice. Since our founding we have partnered with 1292 organizations to create new works, presented 5500+ artists, and welcomed 250k visitors.
As a community hub which provides studio, office and event space to 35 artists, 20 arts and/or mutual aid orgs, space access is based on a sliding scale that accounts for income and historical access to resources. In 2020 community members were able to donate to local causes in lieu of paying rent, resulting in $23k of donations to community causes. In 2021, donated space, and fundraising events resulted in a total of $65k in funds redistributed to community causes. This practice of generosity, community support and affordability are in response to displacement and gentrification in East Austin where many struggle to maintain space and grow infrastructure. Our professional support programs offer no fee fiscal sponsorship, administrative and developmental support to 53 organizations (resulting in $1.5m in funds distributed to first time grant applicants) as well as a paid fellowship program to 5 students per semester. Staff, leadership and volunteers at MoHA have supported the founding of multiple non-profits, small businesses and informal collectives and assisted mutual aid and social practice orgs establish sustainable infrastructure.
Our residency program has hosted 55 visiting artists and 62 online residents, resulting in 137 different public programs. Our digital arts programs have commissioned 25 original indie games, presented 1k+ new games, and 100+ monthly meetups. Each year we provide support to over 650 artists and partner with 150 organizations in support of this work. MoHA has collaborated on 14 different traveling productions in partnership with communities from small towns in Texas to major touring productions in Portland.
- Experimentation | MoHA supports open-ended and unconventional interactions between artists and audiences, making space for creative works that go beyond traditional notions of failure or success.
- Accessibility | MoHA reaches for programming that speaks to the diverse identities and experiences of people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. We are committed to free or radically affordable programming that is accessible to a broad public.
- Respect | MoHA is a thoughtful and active participant in community that aims to facilitate connection and collaboration with our neighbors both within and without the arts.
- Support for Artists | MoHA provides funding, resources, and low-cost studio and performance space to those with limited access to economic or institutional support.
- Collaboration | MoHA facilitates cross-disciplinary collaborations through expansive programming, shared workspaces, and creative partnerships.
- Critical Thought | MoHA provides a platform where critical questioning and the free exchange of ideas promotes public dialog about our future.
- Upholding the Vibe | MoHA welcomes strange, potentially disastrous, heartfelt acts of humanity that raise the cultural brow without getting too high.
Executive Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Zac Traeger is a composer and Executive Director of The Museum of Human Achievement. He has led the organization through 11 years of award-winning programming. MoHA was founded with $4k he saved from teaching piano with no loans or institutional support. In eleven years, MoHA has grown from an informal DIY collective to a 501(c)3 nonprofit grounded in equity, affordability, and accessibility. Zac is passionate about sharing knowledge and resources in support of long-term sustainability and has helped numerous arts, community and social justice organizations establish infrastructure and long-term strategies.
Zac has successfully written over $4m in funding applications including support from the National Endowment for the Arts, TX commission on the Arts, City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Department, United Way, Mid America Art Alliance, SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant and EIDL loans. Zac sits on multiple boards including UNESCO Media Arts board for the City of Austin, the Land Use and Code - Cultural Working Group, Urban Land Institute’s Cultural Advisory Board, Unlisted Projects, and the Live in America Festival Facilitator and Support Team.
Director of Digital Arts | email@example.com
Rachel Stuckey is an artist and the Director of Digital Arts at The Museum of Human Achievement in Austin, TX, where she advocates for diverse voices in emerging media arts and indie games. In 2014 she founded the Welcome to my Homepage Digital Artist Residency. She has previously worked as Gallery Director at Women & Their Work, programmer for Experimental Response Cinema, and community organizer for Girls Who Code.
As an artist, she works with new media to explore enthusiasm, confusion, and mystical lore about computers and life online. Her work has shown at Small File Media Festival, Fusebox Festival, The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale, Hyperreal Film Club, Drkmttr, Other Cinema, Film Forum, Echo Park Film Center, daswerk, Slovenski Filmski Center, and elsewhere. Forever a fan of media art residencies, Stuckey has spent time in creating and researching at Laboratory, Signal Culture, and Media Archaeology Lab. She earned an MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BFA from University of Colorado Boulder.
Director of Community Abundance | firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Stott is inspired by the magic of communication and community. For over 20 years, as an educator, facilitator and improviser, she has responded to subtle clues that her partners give to communicate in these mediums. She used these unique listening and responding skills to foster relationships between the CDC and local University Educators in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as well as create educational programming on HIV and AIDS for the Tanzanian and American public. Her communication skills have been the foundation of her success in working for the U.S. Department of State, within the creative community of Texas and now as the Director of Community Abundance at the MoHA. Shannon considers effective communication a practice and is motivated to continue this practice to help strengthen the artist community that she is working for and is a part of.
Digital Arts Coordinator | email@example.com
Jay Roff-Garcia is an artist and the Digital Art Coordinator at the Museum of Human Achievement in Austin, Texas. Their art practice is transmedia based and functions to create experiential works that express shared personal narratives. Jay is the founder and director of Ruido/Noise, a bilingual organization dedicated to showcasing and supporting transmedia & time-based works through public programming, online releases, and artist support. Their work has shown with Austin Film Society, Big Medium, Co-Labs Projects, Fusebox Festival, Hyperreal Film Club, and Licuadora Alternativa. They earned their BFA at the University of Texas at Austin.
Production and Facilities Manager | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tori Reynolds is a multi-disciplinary artist with a primary focus on producing performance art & theatre. They are the Facilities/Production Manager for The Museum of Human Achievement, and have been Set Designer/ Lead Fabricator for a wide variety of projects. They co-produced/artistically directed ‘Roaming Gender’ - a touring documentary series, creating a platform for queer and trans people to share their stories and build community across the country. In their work, they center and prioritize queer artists and collaboration.
Everest Pipkin is a drawing, game and software artist from Austin, Texas, who produces intimate work with large data sets, archives, and other resources for digital information. They hold a BFA from University of Texas at Austin, a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and are currently based in Galveston.
Betelhem Makonnen, a native of Ethiopia, is an interdisciplinary artist currently living in Austin, Texas. She holds a BA from the University of Texas in Austin and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work researches questions on perception, presence, and place.
Katie Kizziar is the assistant Director of Education and Outreach at the McDonald Observatory and studied civil and environmental engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Her career has focused on STEM outreach in various non profit organizations for 15 years. Previously Katie was the Associate Director of Programs at the Thinkery. She focuses much of her work on building communities that explore and celebrate science, technology & art.
Aryel René Jackson
Aryel René Jackson is a multi-disciplinary non-binary Black Afro-creole artist. Over the past six years, their practice has considered land and landscape as sites of storytelling and personal representation with a material focus on the tools and aesthetics of agriculture, archeology, meteorology, and flight. Aryel was raised between New Orleans, Louisiana, Mamou, Louisiana and Hampton, Virginia. They are an alum of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The University of Texas at Austin, Royal College of Art Exchange Program, and The Cooper Union. Their work has been shown nationally and internationally at various galleries and institutions such as The Contemporary Austin, Jones Center (2023); the Digital Arts Resource Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada (2022); the Dallas Contemporary (2021); Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle (2021); Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans (2018); Depaul Art Museum, Chicago (2018); Rhode Island School of Design Museum (2017); and Studio Museum in Harlem (2016).