AUSTIN, Texas — The beloved HOPE Outdoor Gallery, formerly known to many as Austin’s graffiti park, is now set to reopen at a new location this summer near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
After a delay, the 17.7-acre, open-air cultural events center, art park and technology gallery is now gearing up for its soon-to-be-announced grand opening on Dalton Lane.
While organizers initially broke ground on the project in June 2019, development was paused in 2020. During this time, they say team members were able to focus on more ways the new park could support access to public arts and education while also providing more jobs, equity opportunities and economic support programs for local creatives and business owners that were impacted by the global shutdown of the pandemic.
“When SXSW 2020 was canceled, the future for the events and production industry in Austin was uncertain,” said Andi Scull, HOPE Outdoor Gallery founder and creative director. “Our team saw the importance of taking the time to listen and see that we could be more supportive of the creative class in our city by including more economic and educational aspects to our outdoor art park and tech gallery. We agreed that waiting to see the impact this would have on all the cultural arts groups would be critical, too. We’re so grateful to be able to open our art park for Austin and the creative community.”
Organizers said the gallery team has been working hard to integrate socio-economic and ecological aspects into the project that could "support the ethos" of the park and gallery while also creating environmental awareness, sustainable jobs, training and more creative opportunities for the Austin community.
During this time, they said they made a historic discovery.
"Austin-raised HOPE partner Antonio Madrid realized early on that there was something uniquely special about the art park relocation site – the entire project sits on dirt and debris from countless construction projects in and around Austin, from high rises and mixed-use developments to apartment buildings and parking lots," the group said in a press release. "Based on this information, the project team decided to build an icon of Austin's future by utilizing the remnants of its past – this dirt rich with Austin history – to create the park walls."
The walls are made of 40,000 earth blocks, each weighing 38.5 pounds.
"The HOPE team created blocks that are not only stronger and locally sourced with a renewable resource, but also literally match the project relocation theme of 'THESE WALLS BRING US TOGETHER,'" the group said. "HOPE has made additional strides lessening the project’s impact on the planet by significantly reducing the use of traditional building materials, including cement and steel."
The gallery will be the largest earthen-built structure in the history of Texas, the group said, and they credit this to a list of environmental and economically impactful aspects of the project, which include:
- Solar panels from Kinect Solar and First Solar covering the entire “H” of the park
- Solar installation with CAM Solar, including job training for women and minorities
- Rainwater collection stations and rooftop areas
- Repurposed walls, signage and materials from the original site
- Recycled and collected paint with Austin Resource Recovery
- Creative gardens and bee apiary development
- 3D printed fixtures from garbage from re:3D
- Retail programming and partnerships for the creative community
- Storage space for emergency relief and partner needs
PHOTOS: HOPE Outdoor Gallery to open summer 2021
The park will also include 12 repurposed shipping containers, giving the project more support for community equity and growth for local artists and creatives who are looking to grow their business as Austin expands. These programs will include retail stores, gallery spaces, nonprofit office spaces, storage areas and the rebrand of the award-winning HOPE Farmers Market to HOPE Market for Sunday programs.
From overhead, the layout of the park will spell out HOPE and will be visible when planes fly into Austin. Other features will include a curated mural gallery, practice paint walls, interactive installations, creative technology and educational activations. Coffee, beer, wine cocktails and snacks from local, Texas-based brands will also be offered.
“The outdoor gallery concept is utopian, not because every artist gets along, but because it yields diversity by providing an opportunity for those with creative drive and ingenuity rather than power and resources,” said Shepard Fairey, renowned graphic artist, social activist and longtime supporter of HOPE. “Empowerment is infectious, and the electricity from a space like the HOPE Outdoor Gallery creates a chain reaction of excitement and participation. Whether one is there to take an art class, take part in a charity event, party or paint a wall, there is no question that the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is a community incubator.”
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