The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is not your typical art exhibition. Besides being completely outside, the gallery is three stories high, the canvas is concrete, spray paint is involved… and the artists destroy each others’ work.
I had heard that there was a big graffiti wall somewhere off Lamar Boulevard, so I decided to take a long walk one afternoon to try to find it. I stopped by BookPeople and the folks there kindly pointed me in the right direction. The colorful gallery at 11th and Baylor Streets is hard to miss. The site is actually an abandoned condo project with lots of concrete walls built into the hillside. This section of town is called Castle Hill and does include both a castle and a hill. Originally built as the Texas Military Institute in the 1870s, The Castle building is now privately-owned and overlooks the gallery.
The gallery was opened in June 2012 by HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere), a non-profit organization that also runs the HOPE Farmers Market in East Austin. Since this is private property, artists must obtain permission to work there. Two guys were busy spray-painting when I visited.
The Austin Chronicle readers named the HOPE Outdoor Gallery as Best Public Art of 2013. So go take a look yourself…