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'Hi, How Are You' mural will be preserved amid demolition

The iconic Daniel Johnston mural now stands alone along 21st and Guadalupe streets.

AUSTIN, Texas — Along The Drag near the University of Texas campus is one of Austin's most famous murals: musician and artist Daniel Johnston's "Jeremiah the Innocent," or the "Hi, How Are You" mural.

After crews knocked down the building that features the mural, it now stands alone, with plans to preserve the artwork.

Johnston created it in 1993 on what was once the Sound Exchange Record Store, near the former Goodall Wooten building. Johnston did the work in exchange for records.

In 2018, American Campus Communities, a student housing company, took over the property.

After 30 years, demolition crews are now on the property of 21st and Guadalupe streets. American Campus Communities hasn't announced what will replace the building but said the famous mural will be preserved.

UT students and UT grad Nick Hossenlopp took pictures on Monday of the mural as it stands alone.

"I used to walk by every day, go to class, back and forth. Seeing it severed from the original place is surreal," Hossenlopp said.

It's a meaningful moment for Hossenlopp, who has created murals himself.

"It's surreal. It is special for Austinites, people who lived on 21st or Pearl," he said.

David Lobel with the Hi, How Are You Project nonprofit said the mural has a big impact on mental health awareness. Johnston himself dealt with mental health issues – something that inspired the creation of the nonprofit.

“It's iconic because it's a super friendly frog. It's like the ambassador for campus, for that area. It's looking at it and opening conversations for dialogue. And, for us, that's most important thing – starting the conversation is the first step in reduction of stigma,” Lobel said.

Both Lobel and Hossenlopp said they are glad an important piece of Austin will be sticking around.

“It's a good idea. Everyone loves this mural,” Hossenlopp said.

American Campus Communities sent KVUE the following statement:

“In collaboration with American Campus Communities’ team of engineers, architects and the general contractor, there is a plan to secure, protect and cover the mural. Once demolition is complete, the mural will once again be visible to the public. At this time, we do not have plans for a new project, but when we do, the mural will be integrated into the new design.”

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown

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