The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) is the largest art festival in Austin, with over 400 artists participating in this free, self-guided event. During two November weekends, studios, galleries, coffee shops, and private homes are open throughout the neighborhoods that are east of I-35. A corresponding WEST is held in the spring for locations west of the interstate.
Based on my experiences last year, I decided to start at the Canopy complex on Springdale Road. Over 50 artists rent studio space there, so it’s best to arrive early to find a parking spot and beat the crowds. Most of the same artists are still there, so it was interesting to see what they’d been working on over the past year. Most were painters or photographers, but I also visited studios containing pottery, jewelry, sculpture, print making, and fabrics.
“Danger Derby” was set up next door at the Blue Genie building. Children were making vehicles to roll down the track and hopefully miss the huge swinging (fake) axe at the bottom. An adult version was planned for later that evening (and was probably more dangerous for a variety of reasons).
My next stop was nearby Tillery Park. I didn’t quite figure out where the actual art was displayed at East Austin Succulents, although their cactus plants might qualify as works of art. In any case, I enjoyed wandering around their grounds and foresee a terrarium in my future.
Later in the afternoon, I decided to visit some EAST locations closer to downtown. The artist who owns this studio on Willow Street told me that he lives in the house next door. He’s gutted the studio building down to the bare walls and floors. Gigantic canvases are stacked against the wall in one room. The other side of the house is his work space.
Barry George’s workshop on Attayac Street was an interesting place with pieces of scrap metal everywhere. Based on the abundance of metal decorations, I suspect this artist also lives in the house next door.
I followed the EAST signs to find Beachwalker Boxes at the end of an alleyway. These artisans create hand-crafted wooden boxes with glass accents. Very beautiful.
My final stop was Fistera Studio. This unique house on East Second Street is the home and studio of artist Jennifer Chenoweth. I didn’t realize this at the time, but I’ve since read that she hosts a big open house during EAST featuring guest artists. This explains why I was offered food and drink in the kitchen and a lawn chair on the backyard patio.
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