Visual Artist Tim Wakefield Brings Music and Art Together For Philathropy
Visual artist / Soundwaves Art Foundation founder Tim Wakefield has raised more then $2 million for charities around the world with his singular soundwaves art, but now he's bringing his philanthropy to his new adopted Central Texas home with his newest project, W’ALL Austin. An ever-evolving art park and music installation located at Mosaic Sound Collective, W'ALL Austin opens to the public on November 16 with its official launch during this year’s East Austin Studio Tour.
W’ALL Austin is being built by the founders of Soundwaves Art Foundation, a music philanthropy foundation and art studio that has worked with over 200 world-famous musicians including Willie Nelson (pictured right), Pink Floyd and Outkast to generate nearly $2.5 million dollars in donations to social justice causes. The project will be an official stop on the East Austin Studio Tour, hosting evening parties open to the public. The events will take place from 4 - 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 and Nov. 23, displaying the works of local visual artists in the Mosaic Sound Collective auditorium, as well as a signed collection of Wakefield's Soundwaves art pieces showcasing local and national musicians and bands. The events will feature live music and live artwork, and will be sponsored by Independence Brewing, Tito’s Vodka, Garrison Brother’s Whiskey and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
“We’re honored to be working with Soundwaves Art Foundation, a wonderful organization that has been doing so much good by giving back to important social causes that we are also aligned with,” said Dan Redman, founder of Mosaic Sound Collective. “This collaboration is such a great fit with our mission of contributing to our community and creative sector, and building a bridge between music and art.”
The W’ALL itself is a titular art piece that is an interactive wall, 15 feet tall at its highest point and with plans to extend more than 1000 feet. It will be constructed of mixed mediums including wood and steel, with aluminum “bricks” on the facade each engraved with a song lyric. The public is invited to submit their favorite lyric as a “brick in the wall” for a charitable donation. A small portion of the donation will be taken to cover the costs of production and the rest will be donated to one of Soundwaves marquee charity partners including Children in Conflict, The Trevor Project, Notes for Notes, and Mosaic Sound Collective.
The W'ALL's outdoor music venue (pictured right) will play host to intimate benefit concerts and community programming in conjunction with Mosaic Sound Collective. Rendering by Campbell Landscape Architecture.
We recently spoke with Wakefield about his Soundwaves Art Foundation's new W'ALL project and how he uses his unique soundwaves art in collaboration with musicians, giving them a platform to galvanize their fans to support charitable causes.
“W'ALL Austin seeks to be a one-of-a-kind melding of philanthropy, public art and music fandom that is ever-evolving to create unique experiences, Instagramable photo opportunities, benefit concerts on our outdoor stage and educational programming centered on environmental education and human rights awareness,” said Wakefield. “By giving musicians a platform to galvanize their fans to support social causes, W’ALL Austin seeks to raise support in the forms of direct financial contributions and increased awareness to the discussion of social issues. W’ALL Austin will become a one-stop-shop for the music community to display both their love for music and practice their passion for social good.”
TMO: Why did you decide to move to Texas from the UK to start the Soundwaves Art Foundation?
Wakefield: "Fell in love with the music scene in Austin and the energy here and wanted to be a part of it. Plus, the music scene is so deep in Texas and across America it meant far more bands to collaborate with for Soundwaves than just circling the UK trying to find partners there."
TMO: Can you tell us about some of the different charitable work that Soundwaves has done around the world over the years, and why that work is important to you?
Wakefield: "Soundwaves has raised over $2.4M for dozens of organizations by partnering with 200+ musicians in our 10 years. We have a big focus on social and environmental justice - refugee rights, human rights, youth empowerment. One of our longest partnerships is with War Child UK, and their US counterpart, Children in Conflict. They protect, educate, and advocate for children in refugee camps and conflict zones around the world. It's truly amazing work they've done. We've been honored to partner with them over the years and have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to these urgent needs.
"From the start, Soundwaves was about giving back. Through doing this work, I've come to see musicians on the whole care about their community and want to use their platform to give back. Soundwaves is a simple way for these musicians to give back."
TMO: How did the collaboration with Mosaic Sound Collective come about?
Wakefield: "We had been introduced through the Mayor's office a few years ago, and I knew what Dan Redman and his team were up to for a while. After our initial space for the W'ALL fell through, we met with Dan again to share our vision for a public arts park and fundraising campaign. They loved it, and it fit nicely with their goal of unifying the music community here in Austin.
TMO: What was the creative spark that ignited the soundwave art? / How did he arrive upon such a unique process? (Pictured left: Soundwaves art created from Shakey Graves' music...)
Wakefield: "I had been doing artwork with footballers and other athletes in England, but wanted to find a way to bring my art to music, my real passion. I was in a friend's recording studio, and he told me to check out the sound waves of recording sessions as an interesting medium to play with. I started diving deep into that and eventually developed my own digital process of capturing a song's sound waves and making them malleable so that I could design around them. I've been tweaking it ever since!"
TMO: What is your long term vision for art installations at the Mosaic Sound Collective campus?
Wakefield: "Here in Austin, our primary goal is to create a dynamic, welcoming public space centered around the arts. W'ALL Austin should be a destination not just for tourists and lovers of art, but for all our neighbors looking for a new experience and to explore the creative economy of Austin. We are interested in placemaking, but we are equally interested in placekeeping. In other words, it is just as important for us to draw tourists and Austinites living miles away as it is to engage the community across the street. There is a need for more creative spaces that are welcoming to all in Austin, and it our goal to fill that need.
"From a digital perspective, we seek to become the preeminent platform for musicians to engage audiences around social justice, activism and philanthropy. Currently, the system is very haphazard and one-off for musicians looking to do good. Maybe they play a one-time benefit show or raffle off some collectibles on their website, but it can be a confusing and hard to track experience for fans. The W'ALL can host benefit shows, provide musicians with a secure and trusted checkout service to solicit donations from their fans, and act as a platform for artists to encourage fans to get more involved in the most pressing issues of the day. By offering a simple, trusted one-stop shop for musicians to do good, we hope to encourage more performers to use their mantle to make a difference."
Interview by TMO Marketing & Communications Specialist Marc Fort. For more information on W’ALL Austin and their East Austin Studio Tour events, see wallaustin.com.