East Austin Studio Tour: Get going, get out there

“El Capacitor” is a public installation by Michael Anthony García, a commissioned project by TEMPO, the city’s temporary public art initiative.

“El Capacitor” is in East Austin’s Metz Park and thus an official stop on this year’s East Austin Studio Tour. It is one of five TEMPO projects on the tour.

READ: A guide to the ever-expanding East Austin Studio Tour

A bright red podium forms the center of García’s installation. The podium is surrounded by flagpoles bearing flags that are stitched together from neighborhood residents’ clothing.

García is an astute and thoughtful artist whose creative and curatoral practice is rooted in timely social issues.

READ: Los Outsiders curate exhibit to spark conversation about gentrification.

The title “El Capacitor” refers to the nearby decommissioned Holly Street Power Plant, which for half a century belched toxic fumes, leaked chemicals into Lady Bird Lake and was the site of numerous oil spills and fires.

Only after considerable community and citizen action did the Holly Street Power Plant close in 2007.

However, by the mid-aughts, the surrounding neighborhood of modest houses, for generations a predominantly Latino enclave, was already witnessing significant changes as gentrification drew a new demographic — yes, including artists to the downtown-adjacent neighborhood.

For García, “El Capacitor” is symbol of the community’s potential energy — a symbolic space created to inspire the neighborhood’s longtime residents to amplify their voice.

“El Capacitor” can also be read as a summons for everyone to get out there and talk to each other in a civic space. Its bright podium offers a dignified platform for all voices. And its circle of flags frames a demand for all of us to listen to each other.

“El Capacitor” by Michael Anthony García. Photo courtesy of the artist.


What to see at EAST: These artist warehouses and co-working spaces are home to many

What to see at EAST: A map to the artist hives

Oh, we know.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start on the East Austin Studio Tour.

This year’s tour catalog lists 534 sights and events, the most in EAST’s 15 editions.

The East Austin Studio Tour group exhibition is on view in shipping containers at Canopy, 916 Springdale Road.

The East Austin Studio Tour group exhibition is on view in shipping containers at Canopy, 916 Springdale Road. Photo courtesy Big Medium.

READ: A guide to the ever-expanding East Austin Studio Tour

READ: What to see at EAST: 13 women artists

If the sheer number of tour stops overwhelms you, one strategy is to start with the warehouses or other co-working spaces that have multiple studios and galleries.

And we’ve got a map for that:











‘Creek Show’ rising: Temporary installations taking shape at Waller Creek

Update: Take a look: ‘Creek Show’ opens, artfully illuminating Waller Creek


Over the weekend several of the artists and architects making illuminated wonders for this year’s “Creek Show” began installing their creations.

Read our preview coverage: ‘Creek Show’ brings five illuminated art installations to Waller Creek

Jules Buck Jones and Tim Derrington posted images of their work-in-progress, and working-in-waders, to Facebook.

Jones’ 40-foot mosasaur sculpture took up residence under the Eighth Street bridge. A predatory ancestors of snakes and lizards, the mosasaur swam the shallow sea that once covered much of the North American continent before going extinct 65 million years ago.

Jules Buck Jones and his team install Jones' mosasaur sculpture over Waller Creek. Photo courtesy Jules Buck Jones.
Jules Buck Jones and his team install Jones’ mosasaur sculpture over Waller Creek. Photo courtesy Jules Buck Jones.


Derrington and his team waded into the murky section of Waller Creek below Easy Tiger to install “Deep Curiousity,” a 50-foot-diameter arch.

Photo courtesy Tim Derrington.
Photo courtesy Tim Derrington.

With five site-specific installations illuminated nightly for just 10 ten evenings “Creek Show” starts Thursday.  There’s a slew of programs accompanying “Creek Show”  so check our listings.

I will be moderating the free panel discussion with this year’s “Creek Show” creators 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. Please join us!

“Creek Show”
6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 10-19
Where: Waller Creek between Fifth and Eighth streets
Tickets: Free. Pick up a free wristband at the creekside information table between Sixth and Seventh streets. The wristband can be used for a free series of events.




Photo courtesy Tim Derrington.
Photo courtesy Tim Derrington.

Creek Show preview: First peek at illuminated installations coming to Waller Creek

The Waller Creek Conservancy’s popular “Creek Show” is coming to downtown Austin in just a few weeks.

And today, the organizers have released renderings of the five illuminated site-specific temporary installations that will light up four blocks of Waller Creek from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 10-19.

The free happening is a means for the conservancy — a nonprofit partner helping the city shape the transformation of 1.5 miles of downtown creekside —  to bring the public’s attention to the overlooked subterranean stretch of Waller Creek.

The opening night party starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 10; there will be a DJ creekside and drink specials available at creek-adjacent bars including Easy Tiger, the Gatsby, Waller Creek Pub House and more.

And on Nov. 15, I will be moderating an artists’ talk at 6:30 p.m. at the Palm Door on Sabine during which I’ll get the Creek Show designers to open up about their creative process, the challenge of working with an ephemeral artistic medium such as light and the uniqueness of designing something for a singular spot in the urban landscape.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at renderings of the five temporary projects:

Jules Buck Jones is making a 40-foot sculpture of an extinct sea lizard called a Mosasaur that 65 million years ago swam through the shallow sea that covered Central Texas. UT geology students found an almost complete skeleton of a Mosasaur in Onion Creek in 1935, and it’s now on exhibit at the Texas Memorial Museum. Jones’ sculpture will be under the East Eighth Street bridge.

E 8th Street Bridge over Waller Creek
Jules Buck Jones illuminated sculpture of a Mosasaur,


• “Nimbus Cloud,” by Dharmesh Patel and Autumn Ewalt, is a raincloud-shaped sculpture with programmable LEDs that will change in pattern and light, the water below reflecting the ephemeral display.



• The team of East Side Collective and Drophouse Design (Tim Derrington, Wilson Hanks and Christian Klein) conceived of “Deep Curiosity,” a partially submerged enormous illuminated circular form dipped into the murky nighttime creek water just on the south side of the East Sixth Street bridge near the Easy Tiger terrace.

“Deep Curiosity” is near Easy Tiger.


Kory Bieg’s “The Creek Zipper” is an undulating stretch of milled aluminum forms — some stretched over the water — that will extend the length of the creek between the East Sixth Street bridge ending near the Seventh Street bridge.

"The Creek Zipper"
“The Creek Zipper”

“Phantom Diversion,” by Alisa West and Travis Cook, will draw attention to the stretch of large, above-grade diversion pipes that will someday be replaced when the intake station (part of the Waller Creek flood control project) is up and functional. In the meantime, West and Cook will give us a double helix of lovely light.

"Phanton Diversion"
“Phanton Diversion”


Blue Genie Art Bazaar moves to new location

The popular holiday season art shopping happening is moving to a new location this year.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar is shifting locations not far from when its been the last few years.

This year it’s at 6100 Airport Blvd. in a big warehouse right across the street from ACC’s Highland Campus. See a map here: https://goo.gl/maps/YczxZDZUuxy

More than 200 regional artists, makers and artisans display their creations.

Blue Genie is a super chill shopping experience with free admission and parking, a centralized checkout, refreshments and a cash bar. It’s open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for four weeks, Nov. 24-Dec. 24.  The fair also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The event was founded in 2001 by the principals of Blue Genie Art Industries — Austin Arts Hall of Fame members Chris Coakley, Kevin Collins, Rory Skagen and Dana Younger.


Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Blue Genie Art Bazaar

East Austin Studio Tour artists announced

This year’s East Austin Studio Tour artist have just been announced!  Austin’s free, annual tour or artist studios happens over two weekends: Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 19-20.

See the entire list of several hundred artists here: http://east.bigmedium.org/participants.html.

Yes, it’s daunting trying to triangulate where to go. Maps and catalogs will likely be due in early Nov. (though tour organizers Big Medium have traditionally been kinda last minute in publishing both).

The warehouses complexes or other co-working spaces that serve as home to multiple studios and galleries are always place to start. Use our map and guide to the recommended studio complexes  to find a starting place.

And here’s some of what went down at last year’s EAST.

"Lost in Austin" by Federico Archuleta, one of the artists on this year's East Austin Studio Tour.
“Lost in Austin” by Federico Archuleta, one of the artists on this year’s East Austin Studio Tour.


Seeking the coolth? Museums always offer a chill local getaway

Like we said, museums typically keep it a constant low-humidity 72 degrees inside to protect delicate art and historical objects.

That makes museum the perfect afternoon’s chill getaway in the stifling midsummer heat. And even if you’ve lived in Austin for a while, it’s good to re-visit familiar places. (Hint: Museums change it up way more often than you think.)

Our interactive map and guide to Austin many museums is here: http://www.austin360.com/interactive/art-culture-museums

And here’s few top picks to get you started:

  • Just in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a presidential election year. Seems like a good time to head to the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum to brush up on a little history, no?  For example, did you remember that it was 52 years ago this month — on July 2, 1964 — President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act?
President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
  • At the Bullock Texas State History Museum, “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture”  is a multi-media exhibit organized by the American Museum of Natural History that explores the historical, cultural and scientific intersection of humans and food.
From the exhibit "Our Global Kitchen" at the Bulllock Museum.
From the exhibit “Our Global Kitchen” at the Bulllock Museum.
  • This summer Blanton Museum of Art pairs a stunning (and important) exhibit of Spanish master Francisco de Goya, Goya: Mad Reason, with an monumental yet ethereal installation, Book from the Sky, by Chinese artist Xu Bing.
Xu Bing's "Book from the Sky"
Xu Bing’s “Book from the Sky”



Camp Austin360: An artful mid-summer night’s sky viewing

Here’s an artful option: Why not see the summer sunset in sublime color at the Turrell skyspace?

Tucked on top of a University of Texas building, a sleek curvilinear roofless chamber is James Turrell’s “The Color Inside,” one of the famed artist’s “skyspaces” — a radically reimagined observatory for creative contemplation of the sky.


At sunset, an hourlong sequence of slowly changing colored LED lights illuminate the inside walls, radically yet subtly altering your perception of the heavens.

Over the course of an hour, the colors shift, saturating the space with intense and varying shades of purple, green, yellow, pink, blue. And through the aperture in the ceiling, a remarkable visual phenomena happens. The sky appears in complementary hues. Walls awash in blue make the sky look yellow. A flush of pink turns the sky green.

A recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, Turrell is a pioneer in the use of light as an artistic medium.

In naming “The Color Inside,” Turrell said: “I was thinking about what you see inside, and inside the sky, and what the sky holds within it that we don’t see the possibility of in our regular life.”

Commissioned by UT’s public art program, Landmarks, “The Color Inside” is a permanent work of art, one of several daring pieces added to the campus.



“The Color Inside” is open every day that the UT Student Activity Building is open. Start time for the evening light sequence changes daily. And if you can’t make the evening light sequence you can visit anyway. Turrell’s

Admission free but with seating limited to 25 people, reservations are recommended. turrell.utexas.edu




And be sure to check out our guides to Austin’s museums and galleries



Weekend arts picks: PerformaDance, “Missionary Position,” ICOSA Collective’s new gallery

“Missionary Position: Pleasure Journeys for the Intrepid Lady Explorer.” Glass Half Full Theatre presents the third installment of its spoof on traditional mores. Staged as if it were a Victorian-era lecture for ladies, characters Amelia Weatherbeaten and Eleanor Dangerbottom present to proper 19th century women and aspiring suffragettes a program entitled “Riding your Bicycle to Freedom and Other Lofty Apogee.” 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday through June 26. Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Road. $15-$25. glasshalffulltheatre.com.


“Missionary Position: Pleasure Journeys for the Intrepid Lady Explorer.”



Winner of two Austin Critic’s Table awards, the indie Performa Dance unveils a fresh show of sharp new contemporary dance including the premiere of Performa Dance artistic director Jennifer Hart “Camille: A Story of Art and Love,” a 30-minute story ballet about


Ballet Austin dancers Oren Porterfield and Ed Carr in “Camille: A Story of Art and Love.".
Ballet Austin dancers Oren Porterfield and Ed Carr in “Camille: A Story of Art and Love.”.


“Part 2: ICOSA Collective.” That big yellow arts warehouse in East Austin on Shady Lane — longtime home to Pump Project Art Complex — just got a little artsier. The indie ICOSA artist collective has commandeered 1,500 square feet of space for a new gallery, debuting the venue with a group exhibit of its members. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through June 26. 702 Shady Lane. Free. icosacollective.com.






Co-Lab Projects occupies vacant Congress Ave. space for exhibits

For all the hand-wringing over risings rents and increasing shortage of suitable space for artists and arts groups, one tiny non-profit visual arts organization is taking advantage of the changing landscape.

For the next year-ish, Co-Lab Projects will operate Demo Gallery at 721 Congress Avenue a long-empty retail space right next to to the historic Paramount and State theaters.

Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
“Youngsons: Live Free With Guys” at Co-Lab Projects’ Demo Gallery. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.

After sitting empty for nearly two decades  — an eyesore on Austin’s prominent avenue — the shell of a building is now slated to be “car-free” apartment tower, designed by Austin architect Brad Nelsen.

While that project gets going, the developers have let Co-Lab have the rather raw high-ceilinged space for a longish-term pop-up gallery.

Opening its doors with the recent West Austin Studio Tour, Co-Lab kicked off with “Youngsons: Live Free With Guys,” featuring the lively, vibrant collaborative paintings of Drew Liverman and Michael Ricioppo.



“Youngsons: Live Free With Guys” at Co-Lab Projects’ Demo Gallery. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.

“Youngsons” runs through June 24. Opening July 2 is “Room With A View,” a solo exhibit by Adam Crosson who creates intriguing, thoughtful installations.

Gallery hours are 12 noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays.

"Youngsons: Live Free With Guys" at Co-Lab Projects' Demo Gallery. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.
“Youngsons: Live Free With Guys” at Co-Lab Projects’ Demo Gallery. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.

Co-Lab has been footloose for a while after leaving the East Austin location it had for several years where organizers kept producing a steady stream of exhibits and happenings.

The artist-run group has always been skilled when it comes to the pop-up, staking out art exhibits in all kinds of venues.

Nimbleness proved a good strategy for this smaller arts organization in Austin’s rapidly changing and ever pricier urban landscape.

Mural on the Eighth Street side of 721 Congress Ave. where Co-Lab Projects is operating a pop-up gallery for the next year. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.
Mural on the Eighth Street side of 721 Congress Ave. where Co-Lab Projects is operating a pop-up gallery for the next year. Photo by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin.