Discover Austin: Public Art - Episode 57

The city of Austin implemented an ordinance in 1985 that ensures 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets are allocated to commission or purchase art for that site. We're visiting a few of those art installations around downtown for this episode of Discover Austin.

Other Discover Austin topics seen or mentioned in this episode: Lady Bird Lake, The Bats, JewBoy Burgers, and Via 313.

Greetings!  I’m Craig Smyser.  There are a lot of sculptures and other creative pieces all across town.  We’re going to take a look at some public art on this episode of Discover Austin.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And that is definitely true for art.  So as we go around town and take a look at a few pieces please keep in mind that I am not a connoisseur of art and I usually have no idea what the artist is trying to express.

Lady Hare with Dog is located near the Zach Theatre.  Now, this artist has sculpted with the Lady Hare, the dog, or both in many of her sculptures.  Now the Lady Hare, as I understand it, is not a female hare, but is a lady with a hare's mask on.  Why?  I don’t know, but I like this piece. 

The next one is Angelina Eberly, located on Congress Avenue.  In 1842, when the Republic of Texas was still its own country, President Sam Houston ordered the Texas Rangers to forcibly take the archives of the government and move them to Houston, thus moving the capital.  Angelina heard a ruckus and discovered what the Rangers were doing in the middle of the night.  So she ran to the town canyon, at 6th and Congress, and fired it, waking up the towns folks.  Austinites chased after the Rangers and recovered the archives.  Thanks to Ms. Eberly, Austin is still the Capital of Texas. 

Nightwing pays homage to the Mexican Free-Tail bats that live under the Congress Street Bridge.  Located just south of the bridge, the metal sculpture can pivot on its base when the wind blows, thus simulating the bat in flight.

Along Lady Bird Boardwalk you will find a collection of belts.  But these are no ordinary belts.  The belts have lyrics from song written by Texas songwriters or sung by Texas singers.  It’s a cool way to tie in to the “Live Music Capital of the World.”  And get songs stuck in your head.  There are 36 belts along the boardwalk.

All of this art viewing has made me pretty hungry.  So if you don't mind I’m going to eat some lunch while we enjoy the next piece of art, Open Room Austin.  It’s known as a social sculpture meant as a stage for everyday life and for stories to unfold.  Well, lunch is a big part of my life so excuse me while this part of the story unfolds.  I love this piece.  Of art.  And pizza.

The last one is entitled Crullers, it's located near the central library and Seaholm area.  Now, I’m not going to hold back on this one – I don’t get it and, frankly, I don’t even like it visually.  The artist says they are creature-forms that hint at the familiar while inviting interpretation and conversation.  So it is perfectly fine that different people see different things with this sculpture.  Frankly, I see a big rip off of the taxpayer.  So anyway, Crullers is made up of three different sculptures – Big Mama Baby, Little Mama, and Tall Solo.  I was a little confused because I see only two sculptures here.  But then I learned that Tall Solo has wandered off and is located somewhere else.  I’m not too interested in going to find Tall Solo so I’ve got a $25 gift card to JewBoy Burgers for the first person who takes a selfie with Tall Solo and tags the Discover Austin page on either Facebook or Instagram.

We've looked at just a small sample, but there are many, many instances of public art all across the city so go Discover your favorite.  I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin.

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