Before Thanksgiving, my family made an outing to Hope Park in Austin. It’s the kind of thing that’s difficult to describe; you have to see it in person to get the full effect. Basically, an empty lot was appropriated by the city and made into a graffiti park, where (it seems) there are no rules and anarchy reigns. All you need is some spray paint, artistic vision, and something positive to say. As you can see, there is a lot being said, all the time. Since people are constantly painting over older works, the park itself is ever-evolving—a dynamic entity of self-expression in the heart of downtown Austin.
HOPE stands for Helping Other People Everywhere. From their website:
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery (HOG) is a three-story educational art project located at 11th & Baylor Streets in Austin – one of the largest outdoor galleries in the USA. This project was developed to provide muralists, graffiti artists and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive and educational messaging. In addition, the project activates and beautifies a dynamic yet underutilized space with a great view of Austin! The project was officially launched by the HOPE Campaign in March 2011 with the support of Shepard Fairey and Obey Giant Art.
Family shenanigans ensued. We didn’t go up all three stories; it gets quite steep. It was precarious enough walking on the lower levels. The overcast weather and light rain didn’t help. At least we got the full experience before the heavy rains came over Thanksgiving weekend.
It was a fun outing on an otherwise gray day. The little one had a great time. I think everyone comes away from something like this a little bit different. It sinks under the surface, becomes a part of you. And like life, it’s sometimes shocking, sometimes beautiful—and always changing.
As the sign says, “Live a great story.” And as we say in Austin, Keep It Weird.