WEST: 2016


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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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