After being parked outside Austin on the farm for almost a month, I could take it no longer…I need art! Paul and I decided to head into Austin and stay at McKinney Falls State park which is 13 miles from the capital. We settled in and did a surprisingly challenging trail run that combines crossing the falls, passing historical sites (former homestead of 19th century racehorse breeder Thomas McKinney), ponds, Onion Creek, and well maintained wooden bridges.
The next day we drove to a spot on Ladybird Lake. Paul really wanted to run the Ann and Roy Butler hike and bike trail to get a feel for where the locals exercise. It was really cold, damp, and windy but I agreed. The 10 mile loop is a classic city running (and walking) location, similar to the Schuylkill River or Charles River loops in Philadelphia and Boston, that offers city views, river side scenery and widespread popularity with a large variety of runners and walkers.
We tried to warm back up in the van but I really didn’t feel better until we got into the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas. You are greeted there by a cool large foyer that is covered with watery looking tiles in varying shades of blue. The tiles reflect the light and shadows of the day and even of your own silhouette. Paul and I enjoyed the main exhibit at the museum was called “Witness” which was an interesting collage of numerous artists and their personal impressions of the civil rights movement and the general zeitgeist that surrounded it. The museum has a large permanent collection that is definitely worth visit (free on Thursdays). It is also across the street from the Texas State history museum which we skipped but it highly recommended, and a few blocks from the capitol building, as Paul demonstrates here:
Down the street we checked out the gallery and shop, Women and Their Work (1710 Lavaca St). Intimate gallery with rotating artists and some nice gift items.
Next up was a must do stop for artists visiting Austin, The Hope Outdoor Gallery and/or Castle Hill Graffiti (11th and Baylor). The art on this abandoned construction site is ever changing.
Many famous artists have painted here only to be covered over the next week, day or hour by another artist. Nothing is permanent. We enjoyed climbing around and snapping photos of all the different styles. In order to paint on the site you are supposed to apply, sign a waiver etc… etc…but even while we were there plenty of people just walked up with paint cans in hand to put up a tag or a design.
The trash bins overfowed with used paint cans. I am in love with the freedom this place exudes but hope that no irresponsible actions will shut it down. It is prime Austin real estate and the veiw is fantastic so only time will tell. Paul posted a larger set of photos of the outdoor gallery over here.
Feeling hungry Paul and I headed to Whip In. The vibe was just right with the kind of grooves Paul digs and even star trek videos playing on a single screen. Indian food and really good beer with a wine and beer shop connected to purchase more. The weather was still cold so no one was sitting outside but we were able to score a cozy booth indoors. Highly recommend.
Austin Art Garage (2200 S. Lamar), an almost hidden gallery needs a mention. Here is a placewhere many talented emerging artists show and sell their work. So many affordable pieces but not enough room in our van to display. Bummer.
Torchy’s Tacos was a treat, and is expanding locally and hopefully nationally. Tasty unique taco combinations that are affordable and delicious. Relaxed atmosphere, wi-fi, happy hour.
If you are a Dr. Seuss fan, stop by Art on 5th fine art gallery. We enjoyed looking at the drawings and design sketches most of all. The other art was not as memorable.
We put a dent in my list of art to see in Austin and may stop back on our return from the wilderness.