The Artists Screen Printing Co-op is a non-profit co-op serving the needs of artists and designers who desire to share a common screenprinting workspace and studio in which to collaborate and create original works.
ASPCO’s 1600 sq. foot studio is located at 507 Calles Street Suite 106, next to Hops & Grain Brewery. We are currently accepting membership applications. If you would like to apply to become an ASPCO member, please follow the steps on our Membership Info page where you can find information about the benefits and requirements of membership. If you would more information about ASPCO, please fill out the interest form on the Contact Us page. We look forward to meeting you.
A brief history of ASPCO.
We began in the summer of 2009 with an idea and an ad on Craigslist. Founder, James Tootle, wanted to find other artists who wanted to join together to buy screen printing equipment and rent a small studio space. Two people answered James’ post so they met for lunch and sketched out in general what a collaborative would look like. After about a year of research and countless organizational meetings at local Austin libraries, the original idea had grown from a 4-5 person collaborative into starting an official non-profit cooperative. With invaluable assistance from Texas C-Bar and staff attorney, Whitney Cox, ASPCO was born in July 2010!
The Pump Project Satellite was ASPCO’s first home where we opened our doors with 12 members, a few pieces of equipment, and a lot of enthusiasm. With a $1200.00 loan, we purchased our first pieces of equipment – a 4 color Harco press, and a Lawson conveyor dryer. The Harco is gone, but the Lawson is still running like a top! As our membership grew, our community built additional equipment in order to fulfill the needs of different types of printing.
ASPCO quickly became a go-to resource for DIY screen printers in Austin. We were fortunate to have a wide cross section of members, from beginning screen printers with whom we could share our passion, to more experienced printers who could help mentor the beginners in order to expand their printing skills and knowledge. We started developing the necessary committees to further our mission, and expand the awareness of our co-op, and had an amazing time learning how to build a sustainable co-op! We built our own washout booth, that was converted from an old bathroom, and in the heat of August, installed an air-conditioner in a wall made of steel. Throughout 2011, we learned from each other, and formed lasting friendships through our shared love of screen printing!
By 2012, we knew we had something incredibly special. Our membership continued to grow, and we began to iron out the kinks that are natural to a blossoming venture. ASPCO was beginning to feel growing pains however. Our 900 square foot studio was becoming cramped on many occasions, and our equipment was beginning to show its age. Over the course of two short years, we went through a few budget pressure washers, and any number of garden hoses.
ASPCO got serious in 2013. After a few short years, we realized it was time for a serious upgrade in space, equipment, and goals. While we appreciated our humble studio space, our board began planning our current studio. Our board met, discussed, planned, strategerized, sighed, laughed and came together to make our dream studio happen. We searched for months for a suitable location that would meet our current needs and future goals, and were unable to find a location we could move in immediately that we felt could suit our purpose. In the summer of 2013, we decided to build ASPCO from scratch. We found a building at the end of 6th Street in East Austin, and signed a lease on a warehouse that would double our size.
We sketched out our ideal studio space, complete with a built-in darkroom, washout booth, computer lab, and multiple printing areas, and began working with contractors to build out our new space. 6 months later, in January of 2013, our brand new space was ready to move in.
ASPCO is encouraged that 2016 will continue to be a year of growth and happiness for our co-op and our community. Our co-op now boasts a brand new 6 color press, an industrial pressure washer and washout booth, multiple fabric and paper printing stations, and more importantly, a community that is proud of what it built with volunteer and member support alone. Our co-op rocks. If you are interested in learning more about ASPCO, contact us to see how you can be part of something great.