Austin is certainly known for art in the musical form, hence the “live music capital” moniker. Though other art forms may not receive as much attention, anyone who resides in or visits the city will find cultural happenings abound. Night clubs, theaters, museums and the like have art to engage the sense of one’s choice; and at times, they can even be entered for free. But to find truly free art at any time, one need only explore that which is in public spaces. Again, Austin is not lacking in this area. From glorified graffiti to works on billboards can fill their free time with free art – sometimes without trying or going out of their way to do so. Here are some current, as well as a few ongoing visual art displays worth discover.
- East Austin Studio Tour – an annual fall event so popular it was expanded to include a West Austin Studio Tour in the spring. Once more EAST is upon us and can get your catalog through Big Medium or you can view it online. Then take to the streets where Austin artists open up their studios to the public. It is a unique experience where you can be simultaneously introduced to artists and their work. The Cepeda, Terrazas, Willie Mae Kirk and Windsor Park branches of Austin Public Library are proud to feature artists for the event.
- Women and their Work - which always allows free entry in to the gallery, has a very distinctive and poignant public art installation called Thirst. Perhaps you have spotted the piece that includes a white tree and thousands of white flags, whilst driving over or paddling under Lady Bird Lake.
- Not to be outdone, UT also has a public art program called Landmarks. According to the college of fine arts website the pieces that make up the collection serve as a way to "beautify the main campus and engage visitors". I personally agree and would add that the art makes for a far richer campus tour when you don't have a student guide showing you around.
- Austin Art Boards organization works to bring local artists to your everyday giant roadside signs. I am fortunate in that currently I get to see one on my way to work. However locations change as billboards are sold for advertising. To see the gallery of 2013 winners (and those of the previous two years), without having to search the cities landscape, and to find out more about this exciting organization visit the website at http://www.austinartboards.org/.
- The City of Austin also has a program entitled Art in Public Places (AIPP) with more offerings for the cultural explorer. From the website one can search the collection, find opportunities for artists and find upcoming events.
Whether you wait to take a visitor or decide to adventure out on your own you can’t go wrong with taking advantage of Austin’s Public Art.