Austin Arts Event: The East Austin Studio Tour


There’s something about Central Texas that invites creativity. Maybe it’s the beauty of the Hill Country, the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of Austin or merely the history of creativity that’s been present in the area for decades; either way, there’s a lot of creative minds living, working and creating in Austin, and, this November, these creatives are celebrated at Austin’s annual East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) – a two-weekend event that showcases the best of local art and craftsmanship in the city.

EastAustinStudioTour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

The East Austin Studio Tour – taking place this year the weekends of November 16th and 17th and November 23rd and 24th – is a free, self-guided tour of the artist studios, galleries and event spaces on Austin’s east side. Hundreds of art spaces open their doors these two weekends, and for many of them, EAST is the only time of the year they are open and available to everyday folk to see. This year, more than 400 artists are participating in EAST, and there are a number of cool events and activities happening both weekends of the event, including out-of-the-box events, projects, art competitions, traveling performances, art parties, site-specific projects and more.

East Austin Studio Tour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

EAST comes with its own catalog, which is a free, full color tour guide that comes with a tour map. They’re out and available on the east side the two weekends of the tour, or can be picked up at all 22 Austin Public Library branches beginning November 6, as well as select other locations around town.

Advertisements

Art City Austin


Art is everywhere in Austin, in galleries, museums, and in parks and other public spaces throughout the city. This weekend it’s taking over the streets of downtown Austin too, through Austin Art Alliance’s annual Art City Austin – a two-day outdoor art festival and block party that will transform Cesar Chavez Street and the hip 2nd Street District into an artistic and cultural mecca this Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th. So pile the family into the car for a short jaunt up north for a day full of art, culture, food and live music out on the streets of downtown Austin.

Plum Creek Texas

Photo courtesy of Austin 360

Art, of course, is front and center at the event, with two different kinds of art browsing experiences available for attendees this year. As in past years, Art City Austin features more than 100 temporary outdoor art galleries set against the streets, plazas and open spaces along Cesar Chavez Street and in the 2nd Street District. These galleries feature an array of art types and mediums, and you’re given the opportunity to meet the artists themselves at the event, too. New to the festival this year, though, is the People’s Gallery inside Austin City Hall, on Lavaca between Cesar Chavez and 2nd Street. This part of the festival is made possible by the Cultural Arts Division of the Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office and features only Austin-based artists and creatives, to showcase the regional talent and creativity available in Central Texas. And we all know there’s A LOT of that!

Additionally, festival-goers are given the multiple opportunities to watch art in action over the course of the weekend. Articulture Designs will create and install living art pieces throughout the festival site to beautify and set the stage for the festival, while local artists from the Hatch Workshop will weld a sculpture from unusable bike parts in the middle of the fest. Once complete, the sculpture will live at one of Austin’s many bike shops.

Articulture Design

Photo courtesy of the Articulture Designs Facebook page

While these galleries and exhibits are geared toward the teenage plus crowds, Art City Austin doesn’t leave out the kiddos. In fact, they’ve got a whole Kid’s Block that is chock full of fun, arts-related activities. Activities include making action paintings with marbles with Abrakadoodle, making masks with the Mexic-Arte Museum, crafts with the Mexican American Cultural Center, face painting, decorating bags, street chalk and more.

Two other activities at the fest unite the creative talents of many into group artworks.  These include Building a City with the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, where kids are given a single ceramic tile to decorate, which will then be assembled and featured at the Sculpture Garden during the May 5th Umlauf Family First Sunday; and the massive origami peace crane installation. This eventual art piece will incorporate colored twine and the origami peace cranes made at Art City to create a public art installation that will revitalize and transform an ordinary alleyway in downtown Austin. The installation will be on display on 9th street between Congress and Brazos through May 5th.

fcb854542f59b69763a23e2484d23697

Riders Against the Storm, courtesy of Do512

In addition to these art activities, Art City Austin will feature live music and food from a number of favorite Austin food trucks. Five different bands perform each day at stages that are a part of the outdoor block party. The musical selection is diverse and eclectic, ranging from Texas folk, to positive hip hop, to world music in order to reflect the diversity and quality of Austin and Texas’ music scenes. For more information about the musical performers, visit the Art City Austin music page, for band bios and to listen to some tunes.

Zilker Botanical Garden’s Annual Zilker Garden Festival


The first Saturday and Sunday of April, April 6th and 7th, the Zilker Botanical Garden hosts its 56th annual Zilker Garden Festival, which offers Central Texas and Austin residents the perfect introduction to spring. The family-friendly event takes place amidst the beautiful 30-acre Zilker Botanical Garden grounds, which are located near Lady Bird Lake on a diverse topography that is well-suited for showcasing different the types of native, hybrid and exotic plants that thrive in the climate of Central Texas. Themed gardens – such as the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden – are sprinkled throughout the facility, and are interconnected with streams, waterfalls and Koi-filled ponds, which create a peaceful, serene environment for enjoying nature, wildlife and the great outdoors.

Plum Creek, TX

The Zilker Garden Festival is the Zilker Botanical Garden’s most high-profile and anticipated annual event, and all proceeds support the Zilker Botanical Garden. The event is co-sponsored by the Austin Area Garden Council and the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department.

Highlights from the Zilker Garden Festival include gardening talks and information sessions, shopping and food offerings, as well as an array of kid-friendly events and activities. Additionally, live music is available both days of the Garden Festival from local Central Texas artists from the likes of Harps of Many Colors, The Better Halves, and The Siekers, among others.

An array of garden talks and other information sessions from local flora and fauna experts are available at the Garden Festival as well. Topics range from “Care for Drought Stressed Trees” to “Rainwater Harvesting” to “Cacti & Succulents,” so festival-goers can receive a wide-range of area-specific information about Central Texas gardening from local, knowledgeable gardening experts.  These informational garden talks are included in the Festival as a part of the City of Austin’s Grow Green program – which promotes sustainable landscaping practices by addressing hot button topics such as water quality and conservation, recycling and sustainable pest control. Additionally, an array of vendors from across Central Texas will fill the Zilker Botanical Garden the two days of the Garden Festival to sell a variety of plants and garden-related items, including garden-themed arts and crafts, ceramic pottery, jewelry and herbal products, baskets, birdhouses and colorful garden benches, among others. These items, along with the informational gardening talks, create the perfect recipe for gardening success this spring!

Plum Creek, TX

Additionally, a Flower Show in the Zilker Botanical Garden Center with three special exhibits – featuring Bonsai, Cactus and Orchid plants – will showcase the best local horticulture in the area and will be judged by 6 accredited judges. This is the 55th annual Zilker Flower Show, hosted by the Violet Crown Garden Club and the Capital City Judges Council, which has been in existence since April 1958. Now, that’s a lot of flowers.

For the kiddos in your family, the Zilker Garden Festival features a number of kid-friendly events and activities in their Kid’s Corner as well. Here, the young ones can get their face painted, build their own birdhouses or bird feeders, make butterfly wings and masks, and will receive a free plant to take home and grow themselves. Additionally, the City of Austin will host an array of children’s activities in the Rose Garden, and near the “Faerie Homes” on the Escarpment Trail.  There will also be food products available at the Garden Festival, from the likes of Amy’s Ice Cream, Crepe Crazy, and Texas Tradition BBQ, among others, who will offer spring food items for your Garden Festival experience.

Plum Creek, TX

For more information about the Zilker Garden Festival, including location, activities and features, please visit the Zilker Botanical Garden website. And happy gardening!