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Hidden Gems: Meet Nelda Buckman of Nelda Studios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nelda Buckman.

Nelda, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My husband Karl and I have been longtime philanthropists supporting grassroots arts education. We have now taken that to a much higher level. Nelda Studios is a production house as well as a philanthropic organization focusing on the arts and creativity. We produce original media content highlighting dynamic and impactful creatives, sponsor special events showcasing exciting new immersive experiences, provide access to the arts through scholarships in underserved communities, and recently established The Buckman Center at The School of Design and Creative Technologies at The University of Texas at Austin. The Buckman Center is a collaboration lab space where faculty and students can incubate ideas, innovate, and create next-generation immersive experiences through art, light, sound, and digital technologies. We’re also sponsoring a speaker series at UT bringing cutting-edge industry professionals to campus to share their insights and latest projects. Karl and I can’t wait to see what emerges out of all the Nelda Studios initiatives.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’d like to answer a different question: At Nelda Studios we are very conscious of the struggles and challenges of creatives. We are working to provide opportunities for people who want to participate in or work in a creative field. Our early initiatives include providing access to art experiences for underserved communities such as special events or access to participation through scholarships. The Buckman Center will also provide many opportunities to try, fail, learn, and try again. Essentially, opportunities to fail forward and eventually succeed.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Nelda Studios is an Austin-based media company and philanthropic organization that lifts, nurtures, and expands opportunities for creativity and the arts. My husband Karl and I recognize the crucial role creativity plays in innovation and solving the world’s problems. I’m a former art teacher and have witnessed the impact of diminishing support for the arts and have seen firsthand the power of bringing creativity programs to low-income communities. Inspired by the success of our media content we began producing in 2018 and compelled by the arts-funding crisis, we launched Nelda Studios in 2022 with a broader mission to support art and creativity through original media productions, philanthropy, and community outreach.

In support of that mission, Nelda Studios serves three functions: a media company producing original content that showcases the innovation of the creative community; a philanthropic organization funding initiatives that further the arts and creativity; and an outreach organization facilitating community access to the arts and thought leadership by bringing together artists and innovators for collaboration and conversation.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
If you had told me 10 years ago I’d be producing films, television series, Broadway shows, or launching an immersive lab at a major university, I would’ve laughed in disbelief. Yet, here I am. What I’ve taken away from that unlikely trajectory is that you always have to be open to new opportunities and new people, open to changing course when something has not turned out as you hoped, and move on to what’s next with resilience and imagination. What’s next might be amazing and something you never imagined. I don’t know what the next opportunities are that will be brought to me and Nelda Studios, but I can tell you that I’m open to them.

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Image Credits
Photos of Karl & Nelda Buckman and Nelda Buckman solo goes to Alan Lessig Photo credit for photo titled “Community – Buzzfest” goes to Alan Lessig Credit for both photos titled “Backdrops Restoration” goes to Natasha Davison

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