Tag Archives: Art

Staying in Austin for Spring Break?

Maybe you have to work or maybe you just don’t want to spend the week in your hometown, and so you’ll be spending your week off here in Austin, Tx. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’re going to do during the week while all of your friends are back at home or at the beach.

Well fortunately for you, I’ve made a list of three easy, cheap, fun things for you to do! Of course you could always spend the week going to SXSW events, but that would make you just too cliche! 😉

Alice in Wonderland in 3D at the IMAX

Another perk of being a UT student is that there is an IMAX theater, at the Bob Bullock Museum,  within walking distance of campus. They play all sorts of movies, from historical films to nature films (think Planet Earth style) to normal contemporary movies. They also frequently showcase 3D films. The current 3D and contemporary film they’re showing is Alice in Wonderland, starring Johny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton.

Now IMAX movies tend to be a little more expensive than normal movies and 3D movies are usually a bit more expensive as well, but fortunately there is a student discount so tickets for students are $10. As a point of reference, I watched this movie  last weekend at Galaxy Highland Theater and adult tickets were $13 due to an extra charge for 3D and that wasn’t even an IMAX theater!

I would definitely recommend arriving at least half an hour early because last time I visited that theater the person I was meeting arrived just before the movie and we ended up sitting in the first row and having to turn our heads to try to see the whole screen during the movie!

Making Movies Exhibit at The Harry Ransom Center

For the next several months the Harry Ransom Center will feature an exhibition that explores and chronicles the movie-making process.

The exhibition will be split into two sections. The first will explain the roles of several different players in the movie process including directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, costume designers, and actors. The second section will feature “original scripts of iconic scenes from about 10 motion pictures…alongside production materials for that scene.”

This event is available Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m

Kayaking at Zilker Park

Now that the weather is finally warming up it’s become perfect conditions for kayaking!

Jordyn demonstrating the fun of kayaing...although, admittedly not at Zilker Park

One of the best places to kayak in Austin is Zilker Park, since it’s centrally located and they have kayaks available for rent.

At $10 an hour it’s a fairly affordable activity and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or planning since they have the kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. One important reminder though, bring cash because they do NOT accept debit or credit cards!


Art on Campus, Check it Out!

Are you wondering about that red horse sculpture in the atrium of the A.C.E.S. Building that peers at you through the glass west entrance as you walk by on your way to class? Or maybe you are curious about the shiny black sculpture in the middle of the PCL lobby that you want to jump on and slide down every time you pass it?

Well if you are, then you are in luck, because I am here to tell you a little bit about why they are here.

And if you aren’t familiar with these specific pieces, then the odds are that you are still wondering about any of the other 26 seemingly random works of art placed all around campus.

These 28 mid- to late-twentieth-century sculptures are on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The first group was installed in September 2008 and the second in January 2009 as part of the university’s public art program called Landmarks.

Landmarks, which was launched in 2008, is the first program in the university’s history to develop a collection of public art from a curatorial perspective. Its projects beautify the campus and engage visitors and the university community with art of the highest quality.

“This important loan of sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art will enrich our campus,” said William Powers Jr., current president of The University of Texas at Austin, in 2008, when the plan was announced. “It will demonstrate the value we place on art and creativity as manifestations of the human spirit. We are extremely pleased to bring this superb collection to our university and our community.”

While these sculpture have been a part of the campus for over a year now, many students, especially new ones, are still very curious about them.

“It is incredibly unique,” said junior Stewart Keltner about having the sculptures as a part of The Forty Acres. “I still haven’t seen all of the works, but it’s a goal of mine.”

The loan includes the works of such internationally renowned artists as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Anthony Caro, Jim Dine, Donald Lipski, Beverly Pepper, Antoine Pevsner, Tony Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Several education programs accompany the loan, including a free audio tour podcast and family and teacher resource guides.

By bringing great works of public art to the main campus, Landmarks records our history, builds community, and creates a sense of place, now and for future generations.

So take some time, if you haven’t yet, and check out some of these special pieces!

The Battle Hall

Battle Hall (Eastern façade). Photo Credit: (CC) Larry D. Moore

Located along the west mall, you’ve probably walked by the Battle Hall a countless number of times, but did you know that it’s considered to be the architectural gem of campus?

Battle Hall Door (Eastern façade). Photo Credit: (CC) mrjojo

New York architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect U.S. Supreme Court building, designed the Battle Hall in 1911.  The Battle Hall was originally the university’s main library until 1937 when it was used for fine arts classes and administrative purposes.  It became the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center from 1950 to 1973 when the Texas history exhibit was moved to Sid Richardson Hall, and the building was re-named in honor of Dr. William James Battle, the sixth UT president (from 1870-1955).  Currently, the Battle Hall houses the Architecture and Planning Library, the Alexander Architectural Archive and the Center for American Architecture and Design.

Gilbert designed the Battle Hall in a Spanish-Mediterranean revival style, which became the model for future buildings on campus.  Sutton Hall is the only other UT campus of Gilbert’s design.

Battle Hall Soffit Detail. Photo Credit: (CC) Larry D. Moore

Sophomore Lauren Rego, a bio-chemistry major, likes the Battle Hall for it’s “quaint, antique-y” atmosphere and said she goes there when she needs “a place to recuperate and focus.”

“[The Architecture and Planning Library] is really dimly lit, but it’s still a nice place to study because when the sun is out, it is flooded with light,” she said.

The Battle Hall is also the only UT academic building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And another fun fact:  the Battle Hall ranked 150 (out of 150) in a 2007 public poll of America’s Favorite Architecture, held by The American Institute of Architects.  The Empire State Building in New York City tops the list.

Renaissance Market

This weekend, if you get a chance, I recommend stopping by the little market at 23rd and Guadalupe. Officially titled the People’s Renaissance Market, it is the only continuously operated open-air arts and crafts market in the country.

According to the history section on the market’s website, vendors began congregating along Guadalupe Street, also known as “The Drag”, during the summer of 1969 and soon the street was lined with hundreds of vendors. The market officially launched in 1973 when the city established a process for the vendors to purchase permits to sell their products after their work is verified as authentic.

Laura Esparza, the Cultural Affairs Division manager for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, described the market as a “collective effort of a collective group to offer a unique shopping experience.”

Photo by Daniel Greene

On holidays and weekends the card table-filled plaza is populated with customers taking their pick from a wide array of hand-crafted goods including jewelry, paintings, t-shirts, photographs, and handbags, and other miscellaneous items.

Most of the items are really inexpensive and you’ll know you’re getting a unique product. But beware, many of the vendors only take cash so try to have a few bucks with you, or visit on of the ATMs along the drag.

It’s a really cool place to spend a few minutes on the weekends just browsing all of the cool and sometimes bizarre stuff for sale, especially when the weather is nice.

Also, a lot of the people selling stuff are really cool and fun to talk to. A lot of them will tell you all sorts of stories about the drag and the interesting stuff they’ve done.

One of these cool people is Randy Eckels, one of the long-time vendors. He began selling jewelry at the open-air market in 1976.

Randy, who has a beard almost down to his chest, said he picked up his jewelry-making skills while recovering from a car accident.  He is a silversmith and lapidary by trade, meaning he works with metals and gemstones.

Link Brunson is another jewelry vendor that can be found in the Renaissance Market. This dread-lock sporting fellow sells really awesome branded leather bracelets, mood rings, and hemp bracelets.

He and his wife, Pixie, set up shop at the Renaissance Market three years ago when they retired from guerilla vending, which he described as carrying all of his supplies around in his backpack and selling his jewelry without a permit while traveling the county.

So stop by the Renaissance Market sometime to have a true Austin experience and participate in some interesting conversations!