Dontworrybaby, a new bookstore and community space, has officially opened on Austin’s East Side. Founded by Margaret Williamson Bechtold, an Austin-based creative consultant, stylist, and publisher of the annual zine Girls Our Age, the space occupies an abandoned cement factory located “somewhere in Austin.” While the space’s location is meant to remain a mystery until one visits (much like the foggy details surrounding Fort Worth’s new artist-run-space closed–languages), it is open by appointment.
Bechtold’s Dontworrybaby may work to help fill the vacuum left in the city’s book scene since the Eastside bookstore and art gallery Farewell Books shut its doors in 2017. Although zine fairs and self-publishing events regularly happen throughout the city, bibliophiles are always looking for comfortable reading rooms and places to gather and share their interests.
While Dontworrybaby may not have the most robust selection of books, the titles it does have are pointedly chosen by Bechtold based on their aesthetic qualities and their rarity, meaning many of the shop’s paperbacks date from the 1940s to the 1990s. The space will also have a rotation of periodicals, including Noon, Space, American Chordata, Riposte, Hotdog, Anxy, n+1, and BOMB.
Bechtold talked to Glasstire about why she felt the city needed a new bookstore and community space:
“Coming from New York City, where everything you could possibly imagine seems to already exist, I’ve found Austin to be a large city with a community that’s refreshingly open and supportive of new ideas. The most interesting spaces are the artist-run ones. I want to be small part of that tradition and create a platform for people to share their interests and skills. It’s a bit of a journey to find us. And ‘Baby works to find you something inspired to read when you get there.”
As Bechtold’s project grows, she says that Dontworrybaby will begin hosting workshops and other programs, ranging from life-drawing sessions to immersive performances and art shows. Currently, the space features works by artist Wes Thompson.
Dontworrybaby officially opened to the public on Saturday, September 8, 2018. You can visit the space by appointment by emailing [email protected]. To see the space’s upcoming events, follow it on Instagram at @dontw0rrybaby.