If you haven’t visited Austin in a while, you might find yourself lost in wonder as you attempt to located the Hope Outdoor Gallery. The once bright and full of life site nestled along Baylor Street had been the home of the Austin art scene since 2010. For 10 years it welcomed artists to express their creativity in a safe space that would allow their art to be seen by whomever decided to find a parking place along the precarious roadway.
Amateur artists and every day people could stand side by side with some of the greats of the Austin scene and make their mark, take a photo and with that a memory. It was a place that was bold and filled with color, alongside the overwhelming scent of spray paint.
No matter who you were, you were welcomed and accepted at the Hope Outdoor Gallery, but then in 2020 that all came to an end and the gallery had to move on. Now looking at the once vibrant grounds you cannot find the clever works of talented artists. Searching their address on Google you find only a “temporarily closed”. Austin, the city of the vibrant artistic welcoming arms for a moment paused in time.
At least at this location.
Hope Outdoor Galley began its life as nothing more than a failed condo project. Once called, The Foundation, the irony was not lost that all that remained at the site was the concrete and cement that once formed the shell of the structures foundation. It was first said to be a temporary exhibition of art, but what started as something that would not last forever took on legs and began to walk on its own as it evolved over time.
Originally a place for muralist and graffiti artists to have a space that was safe to express themselves, the project began to hold educational gatherings. Community groups formed behind the project and support continued to grow and thrive. Before long the counter culture associated with street art took center stage and became more and more welcome in the Austin community as a whole as a result of this singular gallery.
Artists from Austin had a voice, but they were joined by renowned artists who would travel to Austin just to display their art on those infamous walls. Everything temporary and constantly covered by another work, the walls told stories almost changing by the day.
Austin’s Hope Outdoor Gallery became a destination all its own as word traveled and as a tourist you could come and sit for a while watching the skilled talents of artists at work. You could grab a can of paint and add to it yourself and if you came on the right day, you could listen to the unique stories that abounded.
Special events were held at the Hope Outdoor Gallery with local artists and artisans sharing their works. Donations would occasionally be collected for local art programs to give kids an outlet that was more promising than some of their other options. It was the epicenter for something bigger than the individuals who came there to share their art.
But then, it was no more.
The Hope Outdoor Gallery has not lost its HOPE however. With proposals to open another facility just 10 minutes from the original area in 2021 near the airport, the art of Austin will stay alive and with that create a new generation of artists thriving in Texas.
In their reimagining they hope to make the facility even more accessible to those who are interested. The unique renderings showcase 17 acres of workable space for art, entertainment and community involvement. Looking to work with local, national and international artists they will curate not just the typical art seen at the original gallery but also add unique audio and video experiences.
Art is not one dimensional, it has many unique aspects and with the new Hope Outdoor Gallery they look to tap into these and share one of the most unique experiences in all of Austin. Even down to the building materials they have selected this is not your typical gallery.
It is said that for a phoenix to exist it must first rise from the ashes. The Hope Outdoor Gallery is not over just because it lost its original location, it is just getting started.