Landmarks brings back bike tour

Wes Scarborough

Landmarks, the University’s public art program, brought back its art bike tour Sunday. 

The five-mile ride started at Austin Bike Tours and Rentals on the corner of Third Street and Congress Avenue. The group made its way to the Bass Concert Hall, where they met with Catherine Zinser, their guide and Landmarks docent.

“On a bike, everyone is able to see all the various places of campus,” Zinser said. “You don’t need any other mode of transportation to see all sorts of things in Austin.”

Zinser said the tour was offered a year ago, but Landmarks decided to bring it back this semester to try to spike demand. The program hopes to continue offering the tour once a semester.

“We’re trying to hit as many of the outdoor pieces as possible,” Zinser said.

Some of the art pieces on the ride included “Figure on a Trunk” by Magdalena Abakanowicz in the Bass Concert Hall Plaza and Mark di Suvero’s “Clock Knot,” which stands between the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building and the Engineering Teaching Center.

“We didn’t really anticipate it, but it was a great idea when Landmarks came to us,” said Keith Byrd, owner of Austin Bike Tours and Rentals.

Byrd was in charge of providing bicycles, technical support and tips to riders. The $20 fee to rent a bike also included a helmet. For those who own a bike, the tour was free.

Landmarks was launched in 2008 to provide the campus with a collection of public art for outdoor areas, such as medians, malls, corridors and gateways. The collection started with 28 pieces of modern and contemporary art on long-term loan from the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Philanthropic gifts privately fund the growth of the collection, and various artists help identify what pieces should be added to the campus collection.

“People have been really excited about this opportunity and this unique way of touring the campus,” Zinser said. “It’s been a while since the last tour, but we are planning to do them every semester to see if we can get any interest.”