It all began with a spark. Founded in Austin in 2003 by Board Chairman Manuel Zarate, HBMG Foundation has partnered with business, educational institutions, and arts organizations to build relationships and encourage imaginative thinking.
Working towards this end, HBMG Foundation introduced its flagship program, the ArtSpark Festival, in the summer of 2004. 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.
HBMG Foundation promotes the creative process through sponsored programs that provide educational, networking, and financial resources for the artistic community. The Foundation also builds connections between the artistic and business communities by engaging artists to provide creative solutions to business problems. Through our programs, we present new works that demonstrate imaginative applications of technology to the arts.
Feed artists. Fuel passion. We enable theatre artists to change the world. Because every community is worthy of great stories, and must learn to tell their own. Herald the economic importance of creativity in our society. HBMG Foundation seeks to infuse the creativity of storytellers with the innovation of business. Prioritize diversity, which ultimately brings unity. In hearing the stories of people who are different from us, we inevitably hear our own. And as the world grows bigger, so it also seems smaller.
Providing tools to artists to understand the power of project management, intellectual property, finance, and HR, ArtSpark challenged artist and business people to work together and become creative entrepreneurship.
Founder | Executive Director
Manuel Zarate brings 30 years’ experience as a director, technologist and a wealth of experience in what he calls the triad of “arts, technology and business” and community service.
Named one of “10 People to Watch” by the Austin American Statesman, Zarate developed several businesses and in 2004 founded the HBMG Foundation. HBMG Foundation supports the development of creativity and innovation in the “arts, technology and business” Foundation programming works with corporations, universities, theatres, and cities advancing the prioritization of inclusivity and innovation and the economic power of creative artists in America. The fundamental goal of the foundation is to empower the theatre artist to do their craft AND make a living. More than once NBC featured the Foundation’s programs. A nationally recognized playwright and director, the majority of his career has focused on the development of new plays– many who have moved on to regional theatres. An advocate of new stories and the exploration of technology in the future of the American theatre, he has mentored and advised hundreds of theatre artists, entrepreneurs and startups.
Ann Zarate works alongside her husband, Manuel Zarate, for the HBMG Foundation and the National Winter Playwrights’ Retreats. Ann Pittman was also a founding member of Trinity Street Players in Austin Texas in 2007f. As the artistic director of TSP, Ann ran TSP until 2022. During her tenure, she was a forceful advocate for new material focusing on diversity and women. Her artistic voice has advocated for playwrights and artist of color throughout the U.S. She is currently based out of Kansas City, Missouri.
Executive Producer| The American Playbook
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 | The National Winter Actors Retreat
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.