Tag: art

Art From The Streets

By Mackenzie Palmer, Peyton Yager, Kathryn Miles and Taylor Gantt

David Schumaker woke up every morning on the cold streets of Austin, but one day this would all change.

Schumaker was walking past the Trinity Center downtown, and a woman volunteer at a local art studio stopped him and asked him to tell his story. Schumaker explained how he had been living on the city streets for more than 5 years due to the loss of his parents, alcoholism and drugs.

The volunteer immediately invited him into the art studio and told him to take that grief and anger and paint a picture.

“At the time I had a broken heart and a lost soul, but the program was therapeutic for me,” David Schumaker said.

For over 25 years, Art From the Streets has given the homeless community a chance to start over by providing them with a studio at the Trinity Center, art supplies, and volunteers to help sell art in hope to create a new beginning.

The non-profit organization is run on donations and holds pop-up art shows around downtown Austin. The art shows provide an opportunity for income for the contributors, 80 percent of the earnings of the art go to the artist. Their slogan, “Give Art a Home”, fully embodies the message that AFTS provides an encouraging space for artistic expression for those who need it most

The artists are able to attend 3 free studio sessions each week while creating one-of-a-kind pieces all year long to prepare for the annual “Art From the Streets Exhibition Show”.

Last year’s 24th Annual Show and Sale at the Austin Convention Center brought over 1,200 people who purchased over $90,000 of art in the 10 hours they were open.

The show changed one artist’s’ life entirely. “I own a duplex on South Lamar now. I made enough money at the show last year to pay 2 years of rent,” Jerry Hurta said, “I have a lot of returning customers and people that have gotten to know me, I have a fan club at the art show each year now.”

The program does not only bring money and stability to the artists. It provides them with creativity and determination to belong to something in this world.


“At the time I had a broken heart and a lost soul, but the program was therapeutic for me.”

Cathy Carr lost everything she knew in a house fire and immediately was forced to live off of the streets. After hearing about Art From the Streets from a couple friends, she immediately fell in love with the program.

Carr’s painting subjects are usually animals because she feels they are independent and courageous. She hopes to open either an art or a music studio of her own one day to inspire others.

The artists create personal relationships with each other and the volunteers during the studio sessions and the annual exhibition show. Individuals that were once invisible are now seen as a local celebrity. Art From the Streets motivates their artists to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication all year.

The volunteers at the studio range in age from 20 to 70. Most of the volunteers have a passion for art and become truly inspired by the products the homeless or at-risk artists create.

The volunteers often have jobs in the St. David’s episcopal church which allow them to be on site and available for all of the art sessions. They like the consistent schedule and central location because it allows them to build strong bonds with the artists and serve as not only a volunteer, but as a friend.

Schumaker explains that a change in perspective can sometimes be all a person requires to get out there and help somebody in need.

At this year’s art exhibition David Schumaker is expected to have over 200 paintings on display. Schumaker now pays for his own apartment from his earnings for his art and never looks back at the life he once lived.

The Trinity Center is located downtown at 304 East 7th Street. Open studio times are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.


website: http://artfromthestreets.weebly.com/


Art in Public Places Celebrates 30 Years of Art and Community

by Alexa Harrington, Karen Martinez, Taylor Wiseman, and Katherine Recatto

Austin is dotted with murals, mosaics, and colorful art installations. Art is displayed as panels at a library and along the rail of a pedestrian bridge. These pieces are installed through the Art in Public Places program. Art in Public Places just celebrated its 30th anniversary of collaborating with artists to showcase art throughout the city.

“It’s the art that belongs to the people of Austin,” said Jennifer Chenoweth, local artist of “The Public Sentiment Campaign,” a colorful piece that represents people’s’ experiences in places such as a park or a street intersection.


Art in Public Places hosted an art crawl in East Austin in conjunction with the EAST Studio Tour.


By ordinance, 2% of every capital improvement project budget is allotted for art. Artists are chosen by a panel and the work is usually installed during construction of the project.


“The Public Sentiment Campaign” is one of ten TEMPO 2015 pieces and one of about 200 public art pieces.

“I think the artists in Austin need the respect that Art in Public Places provides them,” said Ester Mathews, participant at the 30th anniversary celebration. “When you integrate the art [into construction], you have a better relationship [between artist and community].”

Chenoweth says that the Austin community influences her art.

“I have to create things that are interesting visually but also give people an experience to interact with because I’m making art for people in Austin,” she said. Austin public wants art that is about “life, challenges, or impactful rather than passive pieces of art.”

"The Public Sentiment Campaign" by Jennifer Chenoweth and Dorothy  Johnson

“The Public Sentiment Campaign”

Chenoweth started with her project, the “XYZ Atlas” in 2003 and asked people about their experiences in Austin and their location. She expected only locations, but also received stories.

“The stories were all anonymous so people felt free to tell their personal and intimate stories and that was very exciting and inspiring to read,” she said. Dorothy Johnson, writer and content editor, reached out to her to collaborate a piece to “engage people about place.” “The Public Sentiment Campaign” is now located in Boggy Creek Greenbelt.

Chenoweth said that technology and society is always changing, therefore Austin continues to influence her work.

“I feel like I’m already behind if I’m not ten steps ahead,” she said.

For more information on Art in Public Places, visit www.austincreates.com.

This map shows all the TEMPO 2015 and a few permanent AIPP pieces. Full a full map click here

Art studio hosts gala to inspire artists with disabilities

A Budding Artist

By: Claire Edwards, Madison Hamilton, Helen Fernandez, Melinda Billingsley and Jonny Cramer

Michelangelo used a 50-foot ladder to reach the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Picasso required a vast color palette to coat his geometric shapes. Banksy operates through complete secrecy. Shannon Donaldson needs a little water and a well-lit room to keep her art alive.

Shannon Donaldson, founder of Flowers on the Fly, prepares succulents on her ice cream bike. Photo by Helen Fernandez

Shannon Donaldson, founder of Flowers on the Fly, prepares succulents on her ice cream bike. Photo by Helen Fernandez

After graduating in 2006 with a degree in sculpting from Stephen F. Austin University, Donaldson didn’t know in what direction to take her artistic abilities.

“I never knew where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to do,” she says. “Finally I found this little niche of succulent plants.”

Donaldson says she sees each succulent as a sculpture in itself. She creates arrangements by focusing on different textures and colors. Photo by Helen Fernandez.

Donaldson says she sees each succulent as a sculpture in itself. She creates arrangements by focusing on different textures and colors. Photo by Helen Fernandez.

In 2012 she founded Flowers on the Fly with an ice cream bike and a few dozen succulent plants. Her business flourished – no pun intended – when she started pairing the cactus-like plants with funky vases, pots and sculptures that she purchased from local shops.

After securing her three spots: South Congress, The Drag, and downtown Austin – Donaldson became the go-to succulent vendor around town.

University of Texas at Austin student, Leigh Brown has started working with Donaldson to personalize her purchases.

“I buy succulents from here every three or four months,” says Brown. “I design a setup with her and she’ll go and get the plants for me.”

Not only do UT Austin students enjoy sprucing up their dorm with stylish succulents, the local art community has praised Donaldson for her innovation. RAW, “the natural born” art show hosted at The Belmont in downtown Austin, invited Donaldson to showcase her work. Her setup ranged from succulents sprouting out of glimmering black skulls with lit up eyes to blue dinosaurs with plants growing out of their back. The creativity and attention to detail didn’t go unnoticed – her cart was placed on the first floor, directly across from the main stage, where RAW attendees crowded around in admiration.

“My favorite thing is the succulent gasp – it’s the moment when people see my cart and they’re like ‘Ah that is so cute!’”

Donaldson had to create a job to use her art degree, she says she wasn't able to go out and find one. Photo by Helen Fernandez.

Donaldson had to create a job to use her art degree. She says she wasn’t able to go out and find one. Photo by Helen Fernandez.

Even though her succulents have been in high demand among the art community and UT students alike, Donaldson doesn’t have any desire to raise prices. Ranging from $4 to $25, her succulents are cheaper than most art – and plants in the area. An appreciation for high-quality, reasonably priced art was a key component when creating Flowers on the Fly.

Starting a business was a big risk for Donaldson but it paid off – proving to her family and self that unconventional paths can be successful.

A Budding Artist from Claire Edwards on Vimeo.

Bold beauties show off their tattooed bodies in burlesque performance

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 1.57.41 PM Bethany Summersizzle performs an aerial act in the Ink and Smile: Tales of Tattoos From the Inked Ladies of Burlesque at the North Door on Saturday, Jan. 25. Photo By Angela Buenrostro

By: Chelsea Bass, Angela Buenrostro, Joanie Ferguson and Rachel Hill

When the average adult thinks of women who take off their clothes for a living, it often brings forth thoughts of poles and grungy dollar bills. These women use props too, but with a theme and flair. The Burlesque production Ink and a Smile, Saturday Jan. 25 at the North Door, featured a variety of experienced burlesque performers who used their tattoos to tell a story.

“They are experienced, high-quality performers,” event coordinator and founder of The Burlesquerie, Roxie Moxie said.

The theme for Ink and a Smile was developed by Roxie Moxie, which coincided with the annual tattoo revival being held that same weekend. Each of the 11 women who performed had different props related to their tattoos and the story they wanted to convey, which, for some, included aerial rings, ropes and lots of easily removable corsets. The emcee encouraged audience members to cheer whenever the women began to do anything provocative, mainly when they showed any skin as it is a burlesque tradition.

The performers went from a full costume, in conjunction with whatever theme they represented, to a G-string and pasties placed over their nipples, making them a thin strip of cloth away from being nude.

Burlesque shows have been around as early as the 17th century in Britain and eventually were picked up by Americans and revamped as American burlesque in New York. The American version differed from the English genre by focusing more on female nudity. It went from women showing just a little skin to a full strip tease.

Women who participate in burlesque in this day and age describe it as a form of empowerment for women while also having a strong feminist overtone. The average woman has the opportunity to partake in the rich history of burlesque in Austin in the Burlesque academy for beginners, and other local troupes such as Jigglewatts and Black Widow Burlesque, of which some of the dancers in Ink and a Smile were already members.

Although the art of burlesque is still considered provocative, those who attended Ink and a Smile couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised by the eroticism mixed in with acrobatics and entertaining stories.

How many tattoos do you have?

Austin Showcases Local Artists in the Public Sphere

Austin’s thriving Art in Public Places program commissions local artists to beautify the city and contribute to the artistic culture.

By: Emily Alleman, Frances Bello, Kelly Eisenbarger, Kelly Fine

Austin is known for being a hub for budding artists and musicians, but many rarely see their work in a public sphere. However, Art in Public Places gives talented artists the opportunity to share their work with the city of Austin.

The program was created through a city ordinance in 1985 as a way for locally and nationally known artists to display their pieces publicly. Since then, Art in Public Places has commissioned over 100 art pieces all over the Violet Crown. The City of Austin not only pays for the artwork to be placed, but also maintains the pieces following installation. The pieces range from murals to sculptures and can been seen along Lady Bird Lake or even in the heart of downtown. According to Carrie Brown, the coordinator for Art in Public Places, it is the variety of visual art that makes the program so important to Austin.

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“The broad spectrum of artistic expression within the Art in Public Places Collection helps to cultivate Austin as a world class city,” she said.

Brown points out that the program gives jobs to many people in the creative industry, including artists, architects, engineers and fabricators. It also contributes to Austin’s growing tourism market.

“The AIPP Collection, along with many other cultural assets, makes Austin a frequently visited cultural destination,” she said.

This statue of Angelina Eberly, an innkeeper and hero of the 1842 Texas Archive War, stands in the middle of downtown Austin, on Congress Avenue near 6th street. The sculpture was created by Pat Oliphant. Photo by Carlos Lowry.

This statue of Angelina Eberly, an innkeeper and hero of the 1842 Texas Archive War, stands in the middle of downtown Austin, on Congress Avenue near 6th street. The sculpture was created by Pat Oliphant. Photo by Carlos Lowry.

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According to the Art in Public Places website, 2 percent of eligible capital improvement budget is given to commission or purchase art for the sites. In other words, when improvements are made on certain city-owned sites, 2 percent of money goes to creating the piece. However, people and organizations can also donate to fund the program and keep it running.

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Any artist can apply as long as they fit the selection criteria, which includes some experience and a whole lot of vision for the given project. The artist is then chosen by a selection board, which is created for each specific project and made up of art professionals. This board gives their decision to the Art in Public Places panel, who makes the final decision.

View Art in Public Places in a larger map

Brown explains that Art in Public Places doesn’t only give local artists the opportunity to have their art displayed, but also workshops that help them improve their applications, obtain proper insurance and even transition from studio to public art. In fact, the program recently  opened a temporary art program called TEMPO focusing on the Austin park system. They commissioned 11 artists for this program.

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However, the most important part of the Art in Public Places is the audience. As stated in the original guidelines for the program, the goal of Art in Public Places is to “expand the citizens’ of Austin experience with visual art and enable them to better understand their communities and their individual lives.” With the incredible pieces that are showcased around the city, the citizens and visitors are sure to get a feel for Austin’s lively and artistic culture.

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See more photos here.