African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility

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To say that Austin is growing is an understatement. But amid Austin’s exponential growth, one group is declining – and fast. The African-American community in Austin is shrinking, due to two major factors: moving out of the city’s core, and a mortality rate higher than any other group.

Last night, a diverse group of people met on the UT campus to discuss if there’s a future for black life in Austin.

City of Austin

Today is the grand opening of Austin’s new African-American Cultural and Heritage Facility. The center is housed in a historic structure at 912 East 11th Street. The Dedrick-Hamilton house was home to the family of one of the first freed slaves in Travis County.

The center was paid for with $1.5 million from the 2006 city bond, along with about $3 million in federal grants, according to the city.

A draft image of the mosaic, by artist Reginald C. Adams
Image courtesy mocah.org

The City of Austin is encouraging citizens to participate in creating a mosaic mural for the  African American Cultural and Heritage Facility tonight.

The mosaic will feature iconic individuals from the African American community. Art and Public Places Coordinator Carrie Brown said her department is working closely with the African-American Resource Advisory Commission to gather input from the community for the design concept. The mosaic will feature distinguished members of the African-American Community such as Willie Ray Davis, who was the first black firefighter in Austin, and Dr. Connie Yearwood, a medical leader for Austin's black community.

"We asked community members to give us names and give us photographs," Brown said. "They helped us create the design concept and now they will help us create the mosaic."

If you had to pick 100 iconic individuals, who would you choose?

Map
Image courtesy City of Austin and Google Maps

Artists have an extra seven days to get their act together and write a proposal to create public art at the new the African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. The building will be constructed at 912 East 11th Street near Branch Street.