The Waller Creek Conservancy has announced its 2017 line-up for the light-based “Creek Show.” Now in its fourth year, the jam of artworks employs the spacey spaces of the creek bed and banks to illuminate its potential as a destination park. The family-friendly sequence will run Nov. 10-18.
Here go the artists and their planned art:
“No Lifeguard on Duty” by Asakura Robinson
“Fotan Fable” by HA Architecture
“Night Garden” by dwg
“Ephemeral Suspension” by Pathos + TouchTo
“Blind Spot” by Two+ Collaborative
“Submerge” by Davey McEarthron Architecture + Studio Lumina + Drophouse
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.
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.
• “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.
• 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.
“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.
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.
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).
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.
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.