Culture Flash!

Whole Foods is about to get more arts-friendly, Austin moves closer to Puerto Rico, Shear Madness has a new detective running the show, and art at the new fire station really rocks.

Schlosser Development and Whole Foods Market have selected Austin artists Virginia Fleck, Beverly Penn, and Margo Sawyer to create site-specific artwork on the site of the Whole Foods flagship store as part of a Market District Art, Culture and Community Plan. Sawyer and Penn will both create works for the Sixth Street Plaza: a series of cast and fused glass elements resting within a field of stone, specifically textured, and flowering plants in a planter from Sawyer and two site-specific bronze sculptures from Penn. Fleck will make three backlit mandalas from recycled plastic shopping bags for the pedestrian seating areas on Fifth. The contributions from Schlosser ($220,000) and Whole Foods ($50,000) are step one in a $1-million plan to beautify the area with art, hardscape, softscape, pedestrian signage, and community message boards and plaques. Look for the artwork to be installed in three to five months.

The Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance & Cultural Center has just become affiliated with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, making the eight-year-old local troupe a legitimate representative of the institute and a preferred vehicle for it to channel cultural initiatives to the community. The rare honor – PRFDance is only the fifth group in the U.S. to earn such an affiliation – was announced at Austin City Hall on Thursday, Nov. 10, with Council Member Raul Alvarez and Josilda Acosta from the Institute attending and members of PRFDance and its students performing. For more information, call 251-8122 or visit

Who's running the show? If you mean Shear Madness, now heading into its fourth month at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, that would be Robert Newell. The actor who's been busy the past nine weeks Keepin' It Weird (as Will Wynn, the Soup Peddler, and Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, among others) is making the leap to Zach's Arena Stage to take over the role of the show-running investigator from the departing Jamie Goodwin.

The newest piece in the city's Art in Public Places collection gets unveiled this week at Fire Station 43 in Circle C. W. Gary Smith's Karst Circle features karst limestone boulders salvaged from the site prior to construction and set on edge in a circle 30 feet across. Within the circle is bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), a native grass species that will turn a fiery orange after the first frost. The artist will be present at the fire station opening and dedication Saturday, Nov. 19, 1:30-3:30pm, at Fire Station 43, 11401 Escarpment. For more information, call 974-0151.

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Schlosser Development, Whole Foods Market, Virginia Fleck, Beverly Penn, Margo Sawyer, Market District Art, Culture and Community Plan, Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance & Cultural Center, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, PRFDance, Raul Alvarez, Josilda Acosta, Shear Madness, Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Robert Newell, Keepin' It Weird, Jamie Goodwin, Art in Public Places, Fire Station 43, W. Gary Smith

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