How the entrepreneurs behind Foster ATX are connecting the world, one creative community event at a time
by Kathryn Stouffer
What began as a fleeting idea on a European escapade and turned a friend of a friends’ concert beneath an Atlanta carport into an event, has now transformed into a force highlighting Austin’s vibrant arts scene attracting both local creatives and international talent.
Meet Foster ATX (Foster). More than a host of dinner parties and concerts, Foster is a network of chefs, musicians, artists and culture preservers forging a path for community and cultural discovery. Stephanie Gutierrez and Sara Barge, two of the three founders, take a minute to share what’s driving their passion project turned full time endeavor.
The Foster founding trio didn’t start with a deep connection in Texas; they uprooted from their lifelong home of Georgia to give legs to this idea. When asked about breaking into a scene already teaming with house shows and dinner parties, Gutierrez recalls, “We were so relentless and fearless. We would go around East 6th Street and pass out blank envelopes that would say ‘Come to our house show.’ We were kind of running around wild.”
The entrepreneurs are ambitious when mapping the future of Foster, sketching out ideas for potential gatherings between answering questions. Both nod to their European travels and the growing Foster community as sources of inspiration. They continue to ask themselves, “What other brands are coming to town and want to have a presence here?” Their unbounded curiosity and inhibition open the door for out-of-the-ordinary collaborations and unexpected partnerships for both public and private events.
Gutierrez notes, “It’s super important for us to be thinking beyond what we’ve done in the past. None of the events look the same. Our goal is to expose people to new types of music, new places and new ideas.” Barge continues, “With our model, we’ve found it important to test ideas to see what resonates with our audience, listening to what they want, all while keeping it fresh.”
Over the past three years, Foster has worked towards preserving local culture while weaving in inspiration from around the world. Gutierrez gushes with excitement, “Foster is built on supporting the community, but what we’ve been excited about lately is connecting other communities and seeing how this web of connectivity can spread out.”
Barge adds, “When you’re able to experience art or any creative initiative in the intimate setting we provide, there’s a natural bond that’s created. There’s a unique position of that setting in making people feel connected around the world.”
Gutierrez and Barge both use the term “comfortable vulnerability” when describing the best approach to their experiences. “My favorite guests ever are the ones who come by themselves. If that person has a good time, it was a successful event. That spirit is so important,” says Gutierrez.
Ready to experience Foster yourself? Coming off the whirlwind of their first out of town experience, Preservation, and concepting several private events for SXSW, these entrepreneurs have pressed pause on big productions for a season, instead focusing on more accessible pop-ups like the recent late-night DJ set, Last Straw. Keep your eyes and ears open for what’s brewing next.