Taking advantage of the mild-for-November weather, Bill and I decided to visit the Creek Show, an outdoor art exhibit sponsored by the Waller Creek Conservancy. Waller Creek is a 1.5 mile stream running north-to-south from the UT campus to Lady Bird Lake. Five light installations are set up along the banks between Fifth and Ninth Streets.
Each year the City of Austin sponsors an exhibition called The People’s Gallery inside our City Hall building. The exhibition also includes a contest where visitors can vote for their three favorite pieces. The top vote-getter will be announced early next year and purchased by the city for their permanent collection. The contest ended in October, but the exhibition continues until January 7, 2016.
New works of art, including this mural in the Second Street District, have recently popped up around downtown. Given all the new construction projects, this is not surprising. Austin has a city ordinance that requires that “2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets are allocated to commission or purchase art for that site.” Some pieces are privately owned/funded, but most of the city’s public art is under the oversight of the Art in Public Places program.
Over 260 artists and galleries participated in this year’s West Austin Studio Tour. WEST boundaries are generally west of I-35, east of Mopac, south of 183, and north of William Cannon. (November’s EAST covers east of I-35.) Armed with our huge WEST map, Bill and I headed out on Sunday afternoon to discover new-to-us artists and explore unfamiliar neighborhoods.
The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) is the largest art festival in Austin, with over 400 artists participating in this free, self-guided event. During two November weekends, studios, galleries, coffee shops, and private homes are open throughout the neighborhoods that are east of I-35. A corresponding WEST is held in the spring for locations west of the interstate.
WEST (West Austin Studio Tour) is happening over the first two weekends in May. This is the companion spring event to the fall’s EAST (East Austin Studio Tour). As would be logical, EAST took place east of I-35, while WEST covers a much larger geographic area, with boundaries of I-35, Ben White/290, Mopac, and 183. Both EAST and WEST are organized by local arts non-profit, Big Medium.
Last Friday Bill and I attended the opening reception for the 10th annual People’s Gallery at Austin City Hall. Over 100 works by local artists are displayed throughout the building. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their top three favorites, and at the end of the year, the city will purchase one of the top-recommended pieces for the permanent collection.
This was our first East Austin Studio Tour (EAST). Wow! Bill and I were amazed at the number—and caliber—of artists who work east of I-35. Last week’s Austin American-Statesman included a list of EAST locations with a dozen or more artists. We followed their advice, which worked out well.