Alumni Creating Nonprofit to Increase Access to Art and Food in Fort Worth


Founders of Easyside. Photo by Fernando Alvarez.

Founders of Easyside. Photo by Fernando Alvarez

As graduate students in the School of Art, Fernando Alvarez, Corrie Thompson and Adrianna Touch instantly bonded and pursued collaborative ventures in their courses and studios.

The artists experienced an intensive curriculum and had access to world-class facilities to advance their practice and become leaders in the arts.

“Our experience was very telling of what every artist needs after their education,” Alvarez said. 

While finishing their degree last spring, the group began dreaming about a shared studio and artist-run gallery space.

“I think many artists naturally imagine having a gallery or studio and what that would be like,” Alvarez said.

Creating a Solution for Food Insecurity in East Fort Worth

That dream later developed into Easyside, a non-profit organization offering professional services to artists in Dallas/Fort Worth, with the additional mission of addressing food insecurity, specifically in East Fort Worth.    

“During one of our discussions, John Paul, Corrie’s husband, brought us a unique mission angle,” Alvarez said. “We decided to combine our ideas and rolled with it.”

Image of opening reception for Frontside/Backside exhibition at 4DWN. Courtesy of John Paul Thompson

Image of opening reception for Frontside/Backside exhibition at 4DWN. Courtesy of John Paul Thompson

John Paul Thompson, a successful musician and entrepreneur, brought the group a study from UT Southwestern Medical Center examining the dire food scarcity and low life expectancy of residents living in the underserved neighborhoods on Fort Worth’s south and east side.

As residents of the Meadowbrook neighborhood in East Fort Worth, the Thompsons were active in local organizations working to address food insecurity. After reviewing the study, the group decided that food access should be a core component of their new venture, alongside artist services.

“In addition to the study, we had observed that this area was lacking not only essential services, but also cultural resources compared to other neighborhoods,” Touch said. “We believe both are necessary to build a flourishing community.”

The group spent the rest of the summer brainstorming and intentionally networking to gather input from local activists and artists.

The Future of Easyside

The team envisions Easyside as an artist-run facility offering an alternative gallery space, artist studios and communal resources for artists to develop their profession and engage in the community.

Image of SooMi Han and Brook-Lynne Clark at Frontside/Backside reception. Courtesy of John Paul Thompson

Image of SooMi Han and Brook-Lynne Clark at Frontside/Backside reception. Courtesy of John Paul Thompson

The studios and gallery will be inspired by the facilities found at the School of Art. The team will provide services and resources to encourage connection and collaboration among the artists.

“We want to shape the space to fit not only what we currently need but also what our artists will need to flourish,” Corrie Thompson said.

As working artists, the team understands the struggles of not having the bandwidth to be actively involved in community events and activism.

“One solution is to offer studios at a discounted rate, so that we can give artists more time to be engaged in the community,” said Corrie Thompson.

Their goal is to share both the facility and team of artists with the growers, markets and mutual aid organizations working to address food insecurity. Artists will be encouraged to coordinate with those organizations to host workshops and participate in outreach initiatives.

“We want to be a cultural hub for art and food access on the East Side,” Corrie Thompson said.

Easyside has recently completed the application process to be a tax-exempt non-profit organization and was granted 501(c)(3) status. Along with two recent shows presented in partnership with the 4DWN Project of Dallas, Easyside’s most recent show was curated for National Fair Housing Month at Arts Fort Worth, open from April 7-29. The team is searching to find a permanent venue for Easyside in East Fort Worth.

“We are on a mission to uplift and support our community,” John Paul Thompson said.  

Learn more about the launch of Easyside.

Stay up to date on Easyside’s upcoming exhibitions and events.