New Monuments for New Cities

Austin is one of five cities participating in New Monuments for New Cities. This public art program is sponsored by the High Line Network, which started with The High Line in New York City (one of my favorite destinations there) and has now expanded to include projects in over 16 North American cities. Austin’s Waller Creek restoration is part of the High Line Network of urban parks.

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Farewell, HOPE Outdoor Gallery (for now)

I’m sad to report that the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is closing today. This popular graffiti park was open for eight years on an abandoned condo site at Baylor and 11th Streets. Condos are finally being built there—not surprising since that view of the Austin skyline is spectacular. The gallery is being relocated to Carson Creek Ranch, about 10 miles from downtown near the Austin Bergstrom airport. Construction is already underway, and a summer 2019 opening is planned.

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EAST: 2018

The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST), produced by non-profit Big Medium, was held during two weekends in November. This year’s tour included 272 artist studios, 65 galleries, 194 temporary exhibitions, 44 “happenings” and 10 libraries. All were east of the I-35 highway. I went “EASTing” during both weekends and even made two stops in-between:

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The People’s Gallery: 2018

Austin City Hall is now hosting The People’s Gallery for 2018. Pieces by local artists are featured throughout the building, even in the stairwells. Visitors can vote for their top three favorites through October 26. Next year the City will purchase the winning artwork—the People’s Choice—to add to their permanent collection. The exhibition can be viewed through January 1, 2019 during regular City Hall business hours.

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WEST: 2018

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.

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Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin

After several years of construction, Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin is opening to the public this weekend. This white, free-standing building is next to the Blanton Museum of Art on the southern edge of the University of Texas campus. Artist Ellsworth Kelly had imagined this meditative space “as a place of calm and light.” Although Kelly died in 2015, the museum says that he was involved in the planning process for this project.

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BorderǀPromise

On Sunday afternoon, I stopped by the Elizabet Ney Museum on East 44th Street to see an outdoor exhibit called BorderǀPromise. In the field behind the museum, artists from San Antonio were creating what they called a “border bandage.” In their words: “Our goal is to help heal the wounds that divisive rhetoric has caused along our borders by offering many visual perspectives from across Texas.” This afternoon event was part of the month-long Print Austin festival.

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