Art for the People
by Paige Atkinson, Olivia Leitch, James Grandberry,
Taylor Smith, and Hannah Smothers
Building connections and promoting culture in Austin Dominant photo: James Grandberry
Narrative by Olivia Leitch, Edited by Hannah Smothers
To interact with any object in the city, send a text to (512) 580 7373 in this format:
Austin’s Art in Public Places Program is a under the city’s Economic Development department. One of the department’s goals is to affirm the city’s cultural arts in order to promote economic growth and to strengthen the community.
Under the Art in Public Places Program and according to an Austin city ordinance, 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets are allocated to commission or purchase art for that site.
Hello Lamppost is just one of many public art pieces found around Austin. Another new piece can be found on the University of Texas campus, meant as a focal point for the center of the College of Natural Sciences and merging the sciences and the arts, said Linda Hicke, the dean of the college.
Andrée Bober, the director of the Landmarks department at the University of Texas led the process of bringing Monochrome for Austin by Nancy Rubins to Austin and the University. An opening party was held to celebrate the University's acquisition of Rubins' work, where Bober spoke about the importance of having art in public places.
“Public art matters,” said Bober. “It matters especially here at UT. It matters because people who study the visual arts use public art as a primary resource for their learning and for their studies. It’s out in the open so everybody has free access.”
The city of Austin also promotes smaller scale local art through its annual People’s Galley. Selected works of art from regional artists and galleries are exhibited at City Hall.
The gallery changes yearly and at the end of each year, a piece of work is voted on and bought and added to the city of Austin’s permanent collection. According to a city press release, the 2014 winner, a sculpture by Shalena White (2014), entitled Mountain Laurel Mandala II, was just announced.
The 2015 People’s Gallery officially opened on February 27 with an Instameet. Austin residents and visitors were invited to preview the new gallery as well as create their own works of art through their photographs of the space that they shared on Instagram.
Whether interactive, meditative, or community driven, Austin’s public works of art continue to keep the city at the center of dialogue about the arts nationwide as it strives to bring a variety of pieces to its residents every year.
Videography by Taylor Smith and Paige Atkinson, Editing by Taylor Smith, Graphics by Olivia Leitch
“I like the idea of somebody smiling at something someone else has said or seeing a different perspective on a place they visit everyday.”
Save the Date: Public Art Events
Art at SXSW
March 15-20, various locations
See the full listing here
SXSW Hello Lamppost Event
March 17 – Brush Square Museums
Meet the creators and learn about the system
Get more information here
Art City Austin 2015
April 25-26 – Cesar Chavez between Guadalupe and Lamar
Come out to Austin's 65th annual outdoor art fair with work from over 100 artists, live music, and food trucks.
Get more information here
Public art works around Austin
Graphic by Paige Atkinson
Storify by Hannah Smothers and James Grandberry