This year I did both weekends of the West Austin Studio Tour. According to their website, WEST 2018 featured “198 Artist Studios, 155 Exhibitions, 20 Happenings, and 8 Libraries.” With a few exceptions, these locations were west of I-35, east of Mopac, south of 183, and north of William Cannon. That’s a huge swath of Austin—it’s impossible to see everything even over two weekends. So, my strategy for WEST (and EAST) has always been to pick a few places that look interesting and then visit some other nearby spots.
Accompanied by a friend, I started the first weekend at the South Austin studio of Larry Akers. He had invited some other artists to join him, including a friend of my friend, Eileen McKeon Butt. He even had two musicians playing in his driveway.
While in the neighborhood, we visited the home studio of Deborah Main, an artist who creates exquisite pillows from vintage materials. She graciously invited us to see her workroom filled with rich fabrics and trims. Even a non-sewer would be inspired in that room!
We then crossed South Lamar and toured the Thorton Road Studios. There’s a variety of studios in this complex, including ironworks, photography, painting, glass, and plaster. Fireseed Clay Art Studios is located here. The folks at Antic Screen Printing were giving out free T-shirts with the WEST logo on the back.
We then drove north to the Neill-Cochran House Museum in the West Campus area. This is always one of my favorite WEST stops, and we enjoyed talking to many of the 15 artists there.
Two artists were set up in the “Dependency” building behind the Neill-Cochran House. This two-story structure is original to the property and served as a work building.
On the second weekend of WEST, I squeezed in two additional stops. I first went to the ART Space gallery near Northcross Mall. The front gallery hosts visiting artists, and resident artists rent space in the rest of the building.
I also visited the Blue Genie Art Bazaar near Highland Mall. Around 50 artists were exhibiting there in a variety of artistic mediums: jewelry, photography, leather working, cartooning, textiles, and even postage stamps. The creativity in Austin is amazing!
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