FotoATX: Pics and the City

This new arts festival celebrates Austin as seen through the lenses of local photographers

From "Austin Women by Austin Women," by Amalia Díaz

Click! The Houston and Texas Central Railroad depot, bringing the Iron Horse to the state capital in the late 19th century.

Click! Austin's oldest veteran of the Second World War, Richard Overton, grinning, fit, and looking ready to serve again.

Click! Downtown's skyline under a full moon, the reflections of the lighted towers bending in the waters of Lady Bird Lake.

Click! Michelle Moore, owner of the Beauty Parlor, styling the hair of one of her regulars just days before the Eastside salon closes, another victim of gentrification.

This month, the clicks just keep on coming, as FotoATX debuts with enough images of our city and its people to fill 10 galleries. This new event – which as its name implies, focuses on photography by locals – joins two established festivals in January (see "More First Month Fests," below), and like FronteraFest and PrintAustin, FotoATX is wide-ranging in its scope. Among the 10 exhibits, you have archival images that cover a time when the city's streets were filled with more horses than autos and a time when its streets were filled with Latinos and African-Americans marching for social change. You have contemporary portraits of both significant Austinites of the past and present (such as Richard Overton, photographed by George Brainard) and those who represent the city's future (as in Lizzie Chen's images of youth of mixed-race Asian-American Pacific Islander heritage). You have photos that capture Austin of the moment, as in that burgeoning skyline by David Parsons and that loss of a neighborhood business by Amalia Díaz. And you have photographic artworks, from an Austinite who discovers beauty in the urban landscape to teens who find the surreal around them. Put them together, and it's a mosaic image of Austin, as it has been, as it is, and even as it will be.

A collaboration between the Cultural Arts Division, PrintAustin, the Museum and Cultural Arts Centers of Austin's Parks & Recreation Department, and other community partners, FotoATX launched Jan. 5 with the opening of "Photography in Imagery" at the Old Bakery and Emporium, and it continues through Feb. 3, though several exhibits will be open past that date. Here are the shows for the inaugural FotoATX. For more information, including a schedule of artist's talks and events, visit

"Where I Belong"
Through June 29, Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron
Lizzie Chen's portraits of local mixed-race Asian-American Pacific Islander youth and teens.

"George Brainard: Austin Originals: Portraits of the People That Shape Our City"
Through Feb. 18, Austin Central Library, 710 W. Cesar Chavez
A dozen portraits of musicians, journalists, artists, and other local icons by the Austin native.

"Historic Downtown"
Through Feb. 18, Susanna Dickinson Museum, 411 E. Fifth
Historical images of notable Austin landmarks.

"Nancy Mims: Terra Incognita"
Through Feb. 3, Julia C. Butridge Gallery, 1110 Barton Springs Rd.
Images inspired by the photographer's daily practice of walking through her neighborhood.

"Su-Realidad (Your Reality): An Exploration of Surreal Photography and Installation Art"
Through March 3, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
Surreal images by local youth, curated by the 12 members of the MACC's teen leadership program.

"AWXAW: Austin Women by Austin Women"
Through Feb. 18, Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E. 44th
Local women captured by photographers Ave Bonar, Hannah Neal, Amalia Díaz, Erica Wilkins, and Christa Blackwood.

"Juntos/Together: Black and Brown Activism in Austin From 1970-1983"
Through April 16, George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina
Archival photos of Latino and African-American activists, curated by Alan Garcia and Rachel E. Winston.

"Sev Coursen: Built Environments"
Through Jan. 25, Lewis Carnegie Gallery, 1312 E. Cesar Chavez
Shots of buildings and other environments across Texas.

"Process Repeated"
Through Feb. 13, McCallum High School Arts Dept., 5600 Sunshine
Images by students in McCallum's photography program.

"Photography in Imagery"
Through Jan. 31, Old Bakery and Emporium, 1006 Congress
Work by Roger McBee, Pete Holland, Chris Cina, Michael Smith, Dwight Casey, and David Parsons.

More First Month Fests

Through Feb. 15, various locations,
In its fourth year, this showcase and celebration of visual art prints in their many forms includes exhibitions at almost 40 venues in Central Texas. The great PrintExpo – with vendor fair, steamroller printing, and printmaking demonstrations – will be held Sat., Feb. 10, noon-5pm, at Museum of Human Achievement near Canopy, 916 Springdale.

Through Feb. 17, Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd
Now in its 25th year, this performance jamboree presents its usual five weeks of 25-minute works – the Short Fringe – with Best of Week shows every Saturday and Best of the Fest shows the last week. Though the Long Fringe is still MIA, the 2018 fest offers two longer Bring Your Own Venue projects: a musical adaptation of the children's classic Heidi (Jan. 26-Feb. 3, Red River Church, 4425 Red River) and Strip the Musical, by Amparo Garcia-Crow and Arthur Shane, intertwining the life stories of Candy Barr, Josephine Baker, and Lenny Bruce (Jan. 23-27, AFS Cinema Event Hall, 6226 Middle Fiskville). And on Sat., Feb. 10, it's Mi Casa Es Su Teatro, performances in homes and other nontraditional spaces, this year curated by Megan Thornton and Kally Hasandras. To learn more, visit

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FotoATX, Cultural Arts Division, Austin arts festivals, FronteraFest, PrintAustin, George Brainard, Amalia Díaz, David Parsons, Lizzie Chen, Nancy Mims, Ave Bonar, Sev Coursen

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