We have to stop doing business in silos. We need the creative sector to help us identify common themes and interests.
— Sara Hensley, Director, Austin Parks and Recreation Department

HATCH Mission

HATCH believes that art and creativity are essential ingredients for solving problems and inspiring social change. We bring together artists and social change leaders to build relationships, spark creative collaborations, and transform our communities. HATCH launched in Austin, Texas in 2013, and aims to expand throughout Texas.

HATCH Vision

HATCH envisions communities across the country full of creative talent, energy and art that is harnessed to spark transformative change. We see a nation in which leaders and artists routinely work side by side with government policymakers, non-profit leaders, and social entrepreneurs. HATCH is fueling a paradigm shift that puts art and creativity at the center of social change strategies, locally and nationally.

Working with our peers in the growing creative social change field, HATCH is strengthening relationships between artists and other social change leaders, and building a network of artists and cross-sector leaders committed to using art and creativity to advance change. HATCH will ultimately make the case for deep and ongoing creative collaboration between artists and cross-sector leaders to solve our most entrenched social challenges.

HATCH is a project of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which works to ensure that economic and social opportunity is available in fair measure to all Texans.

Workshop for the 4 Plus 4 Equals project

Workshop for the 4 Plus 4 Equals project

HATCH Retreat 2013

HATCH Retreat 2013

HATCH People

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Ann Beeson is the founder of HATCH, which brings together artists and social change leaders to solve problems and transform communities. A renowned social justice lawyer, former philanthropy executive, and frequent public speaker and writer, Ann joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities as Executive Director in September 2013. She was previously the Executive Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice, and accountability nationwide. Ann was the national Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked from 1995–2007. She argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated numerous cases around the country, and launched groundbreaking programs to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security and to protect free speech and privacy on the Internet. Ann has been recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by American Lawyer Magazine and the National Law Journal.

Since returning to Texas, Ann has seeded a range of projects to inspire engagement and creative social change. In partnership with Welcoming America, she helped develop the You’re Welcome campaign, which uses comedy, music, dance and other creative approaches to inspire young people to build more welcoming communities. In 2012–13, Ann was a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas, where she co-produced a public media series to inspire more people to get engaged in their communities.

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Michelle Dahlenburg is the Program Manager for HATCH, where she conducts research, and assists with program design, planning, and outreach. Michelle facilitates HATCH-ups and HATCH retreats, and is currently project manager, workshop facilitator, and audio producer for HATCH's 4 Plus 4 Equals art and mental health project.  Michelle is a theatre-maker, educator, and audio producer whose cross-disciplinary work is situated at the intersection of art and community, civic, and social change. Michelle is Artistic Director of Conspire Theatre, where she creates and facilitates theatre and creative writing programs for women during and post-incarceration. She is an instructor at Texas State University, an oral historian for Foodways Texas, and a story producer for Mortified Austin. Michelle is a graduate of the MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program at the University of Texas at Austin.