WEST: 2016

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The West Austin Studio Tour spanned two weekends in May. While November’s EAST is limited to East Austin, WEST (of I-35) covers a huge swath of Austin: from up north around Rt. 183 to down south near William Cannon. I toured on the second weekend, traveling around north Austin on Saturday and in south Austin on Sunday. Neither day was crowded, possibly due to UT graduation.

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My first stop was at a small, but jam-packed, gallery called Austin Art Space near the Northcross Walmart. I chatted with several of the dozen-plus artists displaying here. My favorite pieces were by Sonali Kukreja and Sharon Bibbee.

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Next I visited several homes in the Allandale neighborhood, where each artist had converted their garage into a studio. I was particularly impressed with the work of McCallum High School teacher (and sculptor/printmaker), Bill Cauthern, and photographer Faustinus Deraet.

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I cut across the northern end of town and made several stops around Justin Lane. Perhaps these lots were a little larger or zoning was not as strict, because all of these artists had separate studio buildings in their backyards. One woman called it her “shed-io.” My favorite artist in this area was Patricia Strong.

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As I was driving along the I-35 service road, I noticed some WEST signs in Lincoln Village, a strip mall that now has a trendy name: The Linc. The old Chase bank building there was turned into an art gallery. I went inside and admired artwork by Mars WoodhillThomas Athey, and others.

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I continued on to my intended destination, Jerry’s Artarama. Nothing caught my eye here, but the store was fun to explore.

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On Sunday afternoon, I began my South Austin adventures at the Dougherty Arts Center on Barton Springs Road. Each WEST artist had contributed one small piece to display in the gallery space here.

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The South Austin Museum of Popular Culture was empty when I visited. Artist Roi James took me on a short tour of their gallery.

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Further down on South Lamar, I stopped by Austin Art Garage and checked out some of their new pieces.

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I ended my WEST weekend by visiting an artist friend, Valerie Fowler. I looked all around her second-floor studio and admired her latest work.

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