Image via Flickr/jmv0586 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From the Texas Standard

Austin's historic theater nearly bit the dust, but three guys in the 1970s had a restoration plan to keep it afloat.

The Congress Avenue theater, which celebrates its centennial this year, almost didn't make it this far. It faced near-certain death back in the '70s, when it was in danger of being demolished to make room for a hotel.

Phil Change

From Texas Standard:

An Austin native is serving up the lesser-known fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm — through art. Natalie Frank's fantastical and grisly paintings are on display at The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, just a walk away from the Texas Standard Studios. 

Photo by Philip Rogers /

If you are a visual artist or know of any who want to get paid for their work, the City of Austin is looking for people to add to a pool of artists they call upon to create works of public art. We were curious about this, so we called the city's Art in Public Places program administrator Meghan Wells to ask some questions about it.

KUT: What kind of artists are you looking for exactly?

Meghan Wells: We're looking for qualifications from artists who are interested in being commissioned for public art projects through the program in a streamlined way. In essence, we're looking for a way to create a pool of artists we can pull from to expedite the selection project for various public art projects that are coming along.

KUT: How much money could an artist expect to earn? 

Courtesy of James Drake

James Drake had a simple goal. He wanted to show the world what goes on in an artist's brain.

In his exhibit “The Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash)," the Santa Fe-based artist displays two years of daily drawings of human anatomy, animals, scientific formulas, original poetry and thousands of illustrations.  He also took his goal of peeking into an artist's brain to heart by incorporating MRI images of his own brain into the floor-to-ceiling exhibit.

The group show "Wall Dependent?" is now in its final week at 02 Gallery and Project Space at the Flatbed Building. Curated by Troy Campa, the exhibition features the works of four Texas artists, Orna Feinstein, Jonathan Leach, Edward Lane McCartney, and Charlotte Smith.

After retiring from a successful career as an architect in the Houston area, Campa decided to follow an earlier passion of his, and embark on a career in the visual arts. Now living in Austin, he's partnered with Rene Ibarra to curate this show at the O2 Gallery. 

  Texas Confessional is an unusual art project, in that it's designed primarily to benefit the participants rather than an audience. In its physical form, Texas Confessional is a small black chapbook made up of actual anonymous confessions. These regrets are submitted online and then compiled and printed by editor/publisher Ty Harvey.

Only 100 copies of the books are made, and they're scattered around the state for strangers to find and read. Harvey strives to place the books in places where he believes they'll be read with some consideration rather than just skimmed and set aside. If you seek one out, you're unlikely to find one (there are 100 books and a little over 26 million Texas residents, so the odds aren't in your favor), but that's kind of the point. Harvey hopes that finding a confessional will be like seeing a shooting star or spotting a four leaf clover.

University of Texas Press

When you think of modern art, does Texas come to mind? According to Katie Robinson Edwards, curator of Austin's Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, it should.

Flanked by poster board renderings and city officials, urban planners and arts nonprofits gathered in City Hall Wednesday to announce that two Austin community art projects will receive federal and private funding from the organization ArtPlace America totaling $656,500.

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said that Austin, whose population has increased by nearly 70 percent since 1990, is being looked at by the rest of the nation as a hub for artists and art-making.

“All eyes are on Austin for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons that we have to be very proud of is our creative class,” said Cole. “The work that the artists are doing to bring such vibrancy and diversity to our city – the nation is watching and we are receiving funds for that.”

Test Tube is an interesting new art space on the East Side. It's tucked away in Tillery Park, which one finds by going through East Austin Succulents, a nursery on Tillery Street. Once in the park, you'll find a handful of trailers that house boutiques and cafés, along with Test Tube itself.

Memory Tag(s), a new exhibition of multi-dimensional artwork, will open at Test Tube this weekend. It features new works by Andy St. Martin, designed to fit the space and inspired by personal losses he's suffered this year. Reflecting on the recent passing of both his mother and his brother, and on his status as an identical twin, St. Martin was inspired to create works that deal with dichotomies and mirror images.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

A crew of contractors from Vault Fine Art Services dismantled and transported Charles Umlauf’s “Three Muses” from Centennial Park to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum on Monday.

The bronze sculptures relocated as part of a temporary loan while the Dell Medical School is under construction.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Clifford Ross’ passion for art has led him down an unusual path. Painting, sculpting, photography and camera-design have all led him to today, the day that his latest piece is displayed to the community.

His three and a half ton stained glass mural adorns the lobby of the new United States Federal Courthouse in Downtown Austin. Ross was approached to execute the project six years ago. His original vision of it did not include a mural, let alone one of such stature.

A five-year effort from a group of Hispanic community leaders is about to wrap up. In 2008, the Austin City Council asked the group to evaluate the quality of life for Hispanics in the city. They found big disparities between Hispanics and their peers in areas including education, health care, even access to cultural institutions.

Last night, about fifty people came together at City Hall to share ideas on how Hispanics in Austin could bridge those gaps.

East Austin’s newest creative community, Canopy, has scheduled its first open studio tour this Saturday and Sunday. 

A little background: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture reconfigured a former East Austin warehouse into artist studios, creative office spaces, art galleries and a café, connected by communal courtyards and breezeways. The space opened in early 2013. 


Austin Museum of Art-ArtHouse (known as AMOA-ArtHouse), a hybrid art institution situated at the edge of Lake Austin and in Downtown Austin, has a new leader. Louis Grachos was selected to direct AMOA-ArtHouse after a 7-month international search. Grachos, who directed the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, for the past decade, talks about his ideas for contemporary art programming and his aim to raise the national profile of Austin’s art scene.

The “Lamar Street Art Gallery” – a collection of street art painted and pasted up on a wall by the Lamar Boulevard underpass just north of Town Lake – is no more.

For now, at least.

This morning, a poster on the Austin page of social sharing website Reddit posted a photo of the wall being painted over.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new exhibit — "Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections". The exhibit features almost 200 pieces of art from the private collections of UT alumni.

The exhibit features work that spans the globe and human history.

It’s that time of year when our mailboxes fill up not just with bills and credit card applications, but holiday greetings.

While most of us enjoy getting cards and notes on holidays and birthdays for the most part, the tradition of sending and receiving personal snail mail seems to be fading. Just ask the U.S. Postal Service.

One local man isn’t out to save the post office, but he does want more of us to get back to putting pens to paper.

We start with a pool of oil. We turn on a magnet. The oil travels up a superstructure and blossoms into a tree. Turn off the magnet, the branches, the needles, the tree melt away. It's a puddle again.

The perfect tree for an oil billionaire, no?

Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) returns this weekend.  So grab a bicycle, some friends and (maybe) some cash, then head over to the east side to see work showcased by hundreds of Austin artists.

The tour runs Nov. 8-18, but is free and open to the public this weekend (Nov. 10-11) and next (Nov. 17-18), from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since the tour will be taking place over the crowded Formula 1 weekend, it is possible the EAST tour may be a great recreation alternative for locals looking to avoid to the congestion and traffic the festival will bring in downtown.

About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.

Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.