Temporary public art program will involve outlying areas of Austin

Alyssa Mahoney

November marks the beginning of the Temporary Public Art program, a new initiative which will make public art accessible in Austin’s outlying communities.

The program is part of the city’s larger Art in Public Places program, which mandates that 2 percent of certain capital improvement project budgets must be set aside for art on the project site. 

Anna Bradley, the Art in Public Places coordinator, said the goal of the project is to provide artists a creative platform within their local communities.

Bradley said the works in the project are installed in communities not typically known for their art scene. The project will increase Austinites’ interactions with the works while artists gain more experience creating exterior art, Bradley said.

“We specifically stayed out of downtown Austin,” Bradley said. “We really concentrated on bringing temporary public art to the outlying parts of Austin.” 

Architects Mason Leland Moore and Joel Nolan designed “Space Camp,” an art piece that will be installed Saturday. Moore said the piece provided a creative opportunity because, while his usual pieces take long periods to develop, this piece was conceived and designed to be installed quickly.

“This [project] is a pure art sort of exploration,” Moore said. “We sort of use it as an outlet and an alternative to the rigors of the profession which usually require spending many months if not years on projects.”

Bradley said Moore and Nolan will create “Space Camp” by wrapping plastic industrial wrap around the Pleasant Valley Bridge underpass. 

“When the plastic is installed, it will sort of generate a kind of room-like space,” Moore said. “It will express some spatial qualities in addition to creating an ambient light effect.”

The Temporary Public Art program was established in a 2006 bond election and is funded with parkland acquisition money. The total budget for the Temporary Public Art program is $75,000 and will be spent over the course of two years. In total, there are 11 projects that will be installed from November through May.

Moore said the Temporary Art Project’s call for proposals seemed the perfect opportunity to move forward with the idea.

“I’ve lived here for many years, and I’ve passed through that overpass either commuting to work or going through the neighborhood,” Moore said. “I’ve been attracted to that space for a long time.”