For several years now, the folks at Soundwaves Art Foundation have been creating and selling original art to raise money for charity. Their new endeavor is called W’ALL Austin, and while it’s got a similar goal, it’s a much larger project. It’s an actual wall that’s (at its highest point) fifteen feet tall and growing.
“[Soundwaves and W’ALL Austin] are two standalone non-profits, and the mission of both is pretty simple – it’s to use visual art inspired by music in order to raise money for social justice charities,” says Soundwaves’ Jeremy Klitzman. The W’ALL is made up of individual bricks – customers buy a brick, have it inscribed with a favorite song lyric, and the proceeds go to charities chosen by Soundwaves. “All the bricks that are being bought and put on the wall this season, the money from those bricks [is] going to homeless charities here in Austin and also in our sister city… of Nashville,” says Klitzman.
The idea of building a large wall in Texas might remind you of some news headlines from recent years, and Klitzman says that while Soundwaves is not a political organization, the connection is not a coincidence. “I mean, it’s very obvious what the inspiration of this project is,” he says. “[But] we take a lot of pride in saying we are an apolitical organization. We’re not donating to any political campaigns, we’re not going out there and making any bold political statements, or at least any explicit political statements. [Still], I think it’s pretty obvious if you look at our work and you look at what kind of charities we donate to – all social justice focused, environmental justice, LGBTQ equality, women’s rights… a lot of our work is with refugees – I think it’s pretty clear how we feel about the other wall being built in Texas.”
There are plans for additional W’ALLs in other cities and at future music festivals, but for now there’s only one and it lives at Austin’s Mosaic Sound Collective, the sprawling music and art space founded by Dan Redman.
“I love it,” Redman says. “It’s something that really fits within our model at Mosaic, which is to create a collective of different visual arts and music entities.”
Redman is pleased by how diverse the lyrics have been for the first batch of W’ALL bricks. “We’ve got everything from hip hop, rock and roll, blues, jazz, Tejano… everything so far has been covered,” he says.
Klitzman says that he and the rest of the Soundwaves team just want to create something that can be a point of connection for music lovers of all kinds. “Our goal is, you know, this is a wall built in Texas that’s going to be really big that unites people and that actually makes, in our opinion, a positive impact on society,” he says.