Given a choice, Kerry Awn might not have elected to spend the next 11 weeks slinging paint at a wall he and two ar-teeste friends first covered back when Nixon was still in office. But he didn't really have a choice, not once taggers vandalized it in January. Awn and his compadres in paint, Tommy Bauman and Rick Turner, felt a responsibility to restore the Austintatious mural they created on the University Co-op's 23rd Street wall back in 1974 and the companion Tejas mural they added on the opposite side of the Renaissance Market 29 years later. "These murals have been a part of the fabric of Austin for 40 years and have come to represent the link between the olde Austin and the new Austin of today," the artists wrote. "They are a living history book documenting our city and state and have stood the test of time but are due for a make over."
The quote comes from the trio's Indiegogo page, where they're currently soliciting $30,000 for the restoration. That's right, the cost of fixing this assault is being shouldered by the artists. Neither the Co-op nor the city of Austin are financially able to fund the repairs, although the city's graffiti abatement team did work to remove the tags and the Co-op has committed to installing cameras and additional lighting to discourage repeat offenders. So the artists are seeking support from the folks who consider these works of art part of their civic heritage. The plan is to raise enough that Awn, Bauman, and Turner are able to clean and power wash the walls, repair stucco damage and cracked paint, completely repaint both murals (adding updates because, according to Awn, they can't help themselves), and apply protective sealant. The campaign – www.indiegogo.com/projects/mural-restoration – has already generated more than $11,000 in pledges, and it has another five weeks to go.
But the artists aren't waiting for the fund drive to finish. They'll begin work this Saturday and expect to be on the job through Memorial Day. They invite you to come by, follow their progress, and say hello.
You know, maybe this is what Kerry Awn would elect to do for the next 11 weeks given a choice. I mean, that's how these murals got there in the first place.
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