It all began with a spark. Founded in Austin in 2004 by Board Chairman Manuel Zarate, HBMG Foundation has partnered with business, educational institutions, and arts organizations to build relationships and encourage imaginative thinking. HBMG Foundation was created as part of a larger entity that has a presence in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. HBMG Inc. seeks to seed the work of its non-profit sister organization with personnel and financial resources. Inc.’s mission in the non-profit world is to feed creative ideas and new personnel back into the work of for-profit corporations.
This is how the symbiotic relationship between HBMG Inc., a technology services and strategic insights consulting firm, and HBMG Foundation functions, creating a dynamic tension that holds both organizations in balance, but also allowing for great flexibility. Mr. Zarate’s overarching goal for the Foundation was to focus on the support and development of creativity and collaboration in all artistic disciplines.
Working towards this end, HBMG Foundation introduced its flagship program, the ArtSpark Festival, in the summer of 2005. In recognition of the Foundation’s vision and work, the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented HBMG Foundation with their Arts Leadership Award in 2006.
Today, the goal of the HBMG Foundation is to continue to provide professional opportunities for emerging artists and technological innovators to improve their skills. They offer contact with experts in arts, technology, and business, which give creative individuals a broader understanding of their discipline. HBMG Foundation strives to be a resource for people who understand that the concepts of openness and playfulness can create new perspectives and ideas. Championing imagination. Encouraging mavericks. They push play.
As its Founder, Manuel Zarate brings leadership, vision and a wealth of experience in Theater, Technology and Business to the organization. Mr. Zarate has over 20 years of professional experience in Theater. He has served as Artist-in-Education for the State of Oregon and served as the Director of Arts for the Washington Institute for Leadership. He is a nationally recognized Playwright and Director and is a member of Actors Equity. and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He has served as a National Juror for the American Multicultural Festival and has served as Artistic Director for several professional theaters. He has received numerous awards for artistic excellence including Best New Script from the Austin Critic’s Table 1998. His plays are represented by Susan Gurman.
On the business side, Mr. Zarate has developed several highly successful businesses in the Austin area over the last 15 years. He is currently the President of HBMG, Inc., HBMG Global, and Human Stage. His companies providing information technology services and future problem solving to a range of clients across several industries. Manuel has distinguished himself as a leader in software development and information technology systems. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of HBMG Inc. which extends deep into the arts in Austin, Creede, and the world beyond.
Ann Zarate found her way to the foundation through the arts, performing in the Foundation’s production of Foursquare at Frontera Fest 2012 and a staged reading of Shakespeare Scrooge in 2013. She is an actor and writer who splits her time between Austin, Texas and Creede, Colorado performing at theatres along the way including Creede Repertory Theatre, Seven Devils Playwright Conference, ZACH Theatre, and Austin Playhouse. She is Artistic Director of Trinity Street Players in Austin and served on the selection committee for Mainstreet Musicals in New York in 2015. Alongside Manuel, she founded and hosts the National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Colorado helping writers to retreat, relax and create new work. She also serves as Founder and Artistic Director of Trinity Street Players who celebrated their tenth season in 2018 in Austin, Texas.
Ann is an advocate for women’s rights and gay rights and believes that art is the medium through which change most authentically comes. Ann devotes her time to telling stories onstage or off and helping everyone foster art through their own storytelling capacity.
Amanda J. Bermudez is an award-winning writer and director based in Los Angeles, California. Her past works include The Face of the Earth (Winner of the Diverse Voices Award, 2018), Hunt (National Winter Playwrights Retreat, 2017), and an adaptation of W.H. Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror (Yale Center for British Art, 2013). In addition to writing and public arts organization, Bermudez is also a former boxer and EMT, and her work gravitates toward contemporary explorations of power, the architecture of language, and the dynamics of privilege. She is a recipient of the Jameson Prize, a Writer’s Digest National Award Winner, nominee for the Spotlight Culture & Heritage Award, winner of the 2017 Cinequest Film Festival writing competition, and was named one of the Top 100 Emerging Screenwriters in 2017.
Program Director Joshua Bermudez is an actor, producer, and entrepreneur. An alumni of the Yale School of Drama, Joshua is also the founder of Wolf & Long and is proud to be the Director of Development for The American Playbook. In addition to various film and television appearances, he has workshopped and appeared in over 30 staged productions, including new plays with the Carlotta Festival and Casa 0101, and as a founding producer of LA’s Shakespeare in the Shed. Joshua has taught various classes and workshops for actors in California and has been a guest artist and instructor at the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Four Pillars Acting Studio, Santiago Canyon College, and Yale University.