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The Art of Moving Books

The Nobelity Project taps Baylor Estes to put his art all over a bookmobile in Honduras

By Robert Faires, Fri., May 10, 2013

The winning design in the Art of Moving Books competition
The winning design in the Art of Moving Books competition

This week, Austin artist Baylor Estes gets to put his creative stamp on another part of the world – and maybe change lives in the process. The 23-year-old illustrator and muralist, whose work can be seen in the zine Raw Paw, the comics anthology Rough House, and on posters and promotional items for Mother Falcon, Hello Wheels, Marmalakes, and the Frontier Brothers, has won the Nobelity Project's Art of Moving Books competition to design the colorful exterior for a new bookmobile for the island of Roatán. He'll be flying to that small outpost off the north coast of Honduras and directing a team that will cover a stand-issue yellow school bus with his brightly colored cartoon images of parrots, fish, tortoises, and, of course, a child happily engrossed in reading a book.

The Bibliobus is sorely needed on Roatán, once a laid-back collection of fishing villages that has in recent years exploded into a tourist mecca with daily stops by cruise ships, and posh resorts and tony hotels rising across the island. The population has jumped from 15,000 to 75,000 over the last 20 years, but while residents now enjoy electricity, paved roads, cell phones, and the Internet, most are still desperately poor and undereducated. Only a quarter of the children enter school, and half of those never make it past sixth grade. This bookmobile, developed by the island's Sand Castle Library in partnership with the Austin-based Nobelity Project, will provide access to books for more than 3,500 kids in 14 village schools.

Earlier this spring, the Nobelity Project invited artists of all ages to submit designs to the contest, with the entries judged by a team that included Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity; Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), artist in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Austin sculptor Karen Hawkins; and Austin artist Katie Rose Pipkin, who runs Wardenclyffe Gallery and is the daughter of Nobelity founders Turk and Christy Pipkin. In addition to the winning design, judges designated awards for innovative design and design by an artist under age 18. These will be announced at the opening night reception for an exhibition of the contest entries at Wardenclyffe Gallery, 1101 Springdale, on Thursday, May 9. By the way, the artwork on display will be for sale, and the proceeds will help fund the Roatán Bibliobus.

The event, which starts at 7pm, is free and open to the public. Complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails will be provided by Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, Tito's Vodka, Shiner Beer, and Troublemaker Wine. For more information, visit www.nobelity.org. For more information on Sand Castle Library and PIER/Partners in Education Roatán, visit www.pierroatan.org.

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