The Austin Chronicle

Get Your Art Fix and Stay Outdoors With These Local Works

By Wayne Alan Brenner, November 19, 2020, 2:50pm, All Over Creation

Seriously, put down that internet for a moment and consider venturing into the world beyond where you’re sheltering at home.


Because the outside is safe. Especially when you’re masked and properly distanced, the outside is safer than houses. And you don’t have to rub elbows with fellow humans in order to get pretty up-close-and-personal with the compelling works that some of those humans have created in (or for) this city.

AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR The folks at Big Medium know how true the above premise is. That’s why, in addition to all the wonderful online offerings and events they’ve wrangled for the revamped Austin Studio Tour this year, those champions of the creative community have also provided a map (okay, it is a digital map) of places – studios, galleries – where you can wander to witness handmade wonders during this second and final weekend of the Tour. Witness the works through strategic windows or by scheduled, one-person-at-a-time visits. “Some participants may present exhibitions outdoors,” Big Medium notes, “but the artists will not interact in person with self-guided Tour-goers this year.” But you’ll be right there – thwarting cabin fever, experiencing your city, enhancing your cultural engagement and keeping your too-long-secluded self from losing your fucking mind. Sound like a win to you, too?

LANDMARKS The University of Texas also has a program of outdoor art – it’s been going for years, and it’s responsible for commissioning and placing and promoting many stunning, world-class installations around the UT campus and beyond – and their self-guided tour will provide a leisurely art-studded journey that’s even more recommended now than ever. That is, we certainly recommended it highly in the Before Times, and we’ll do so again post-COVID-19 … but right now it might be another instance of exactly-what-you-need to keep your mental health on track.

ART HEIST But maybe someone’s stolen the art? What will you do then? Well, if you’re part of the safely distanced, outside-exploring audience of this help-them-solve-it mystery show at the Paramount Theatre, you’ll put your sleuthing skills to good use while being entertained right there in the heart of Downtown Austin. This show, based on a true story of the world’s biggest art heist, was a smash hit when it premiered at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and is selling out quickly in Austin. Like, it seems to be sold out this weekend, but there are still tickets available for Thanksgiving weekend.

ELSEWHERE But you want something interactive and exploratory this weekend, is that what you’re saying? Let’s note, then, that one of the performative gems of the Austin Studio Tour listed above is this new movement-based spectacle from Jennifer Sherburn and company. Yes, the acclaimed dance company that brought Austin the yearlong wonderment of 11:11 has taken over Rogge House Ranch with a series of living installations, and you can make like the happiest phantom ghosting among them for a soul-refreshing experience.

TAKE YOURSELF OUT TO DOWNS FIELD to see Forklift Danceworks’ presentation of Take Me Out to Downs Field, an exhibition of photography by Cindy Elizabeth that celebrates the legacy of the Negro League baseball players and uplifts the narratives of Huston-Tillotson baseball and softball teams of today.

AND YOU ALREADY KNOW that all these events (and so many more) are featured in the Chronicle’s ongoing Arts and Community Listings, right? Week after week after week – for almost 40 years now, FFS. But, every now & then, we like to amplify that information with a smedia-friendly blogpost, and so … well, here we are, citizen. And more power to us all.

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