Austin Murals

Pride of the South Side

Careen Vaughn and Rebeka Rich thought the big blank wall on the side of the Time Warner Cable building at South First and Stassney was an eyesore, so when they had a chance to do something about it, they jumped at the chance. Time Warner – which apparently thought the wall was no great shakes, either – took the suggestion of Tracy Wolczanski and had local artists submit bids for a mural. Vaughn and Rich pitched a "South Austin pride" theme, full of recognizable landmarks from below Town Lake, which Vaughn did a sketch of, and it was accepted. So, from early November to late December, Vaughn, Rich, and their colleagues Phil Crocker, Michael Neely, and Shanda Smith set to cramming the wall with as many Violet Crown icons as they could fit in 130 feet. Bat Bridge? Check. Barton Springs? Check. Broken Spoke? Check. Moontower? Check. St. Ed's? Check. You can also spy Maria's Taco Express, the Continental Club, McKinney Falls, Hill's Cafe, Garrison Park, and the Soup Peddler, among others, peeking out from among all the trees and water. On February 7, Time Warner unveiled the work with much fanfare at a ceremony attended by Texas State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, City Council Member Betty Dunkerley, KVET personality and Hill's Cafe owner Bob Cole, and Nilda de la Llata, owner of El Sol y la Luna.

Another Southside mural made its debut in February, this one at Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square. The mural, one of four produced at neighboring schools in Dove Springs (Houston, Rodriguez, and Widen Elementaries are the others), was created by Mendez students through an after-school program that seeks to introduce students to basic art concepts, promote Mexican culture, beautify the community, promote diversity, and elevate self-esteem through the group effort. The project, a collaboration between River City Youth Foundation and Mexic-Arte Museum, was sponsored by A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. The unveiling ceremony on February 1 recognized the participating students and Austin artist Adrian Quintero.

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