Graffiti Gala uses creativity to raise funds for the relocation of HOPE Outdoor Gallery

Celesia Smith

For years, artists, tourists and Austinites have visited HOPE Outdoor Gallery, commonly known as Graffiti Park, to express themselves artistically. The park is set to close in October but the upcoming Graffiti Gala is part of the movement to help fund the relocation of Austin’s beloved landmark.


The park’s current location on Baylor Street was always meant to be a temporary space. After seven years, HOPE Events, the nonprofit organization that manages HOPE Outdoor, found a permanent location at Carson Creek Ranch, a 58–acre ranch near the Colorado River.


To make the relocation a success, Austin philanthropic organization Sound and Vision Social Club is hosting a Graffiti Gala to raise funds for the move. The event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22. The first of its kind, Graffiti Gala will boast interactive art, fashion, live music and an art gallery, with ticket proceeds benefiting the development of the new park.


Bethany Allee, executive director and founder of Sound and Vision Social Club, said she has an unequaled love for art and wants HOPE Outdoor Gallery to remain a vital part of the Austin community.


“I want to make sure that my children have a place where they know they can express their creativity and their freedom and really experience the arts in an organic type of way,” Allee said. “That’s what makes me passionate about planning the event — it’s to give back to the community and make it a
richer environment.”


Allee said she thinks Graffiti Gala will unite the Austin community in a unique way while also facilitating everyday appreciation of art.


“It’s really what Austin is all about. It’s about the art — modern art — and music and community,” Allee said. “My hope is that with (Graffiti Gala) we have found a way to make an art activity that is approachable for patrons but in a way that retains integrity for artists.”


Twelve local artists will have work included in the silent auction and featured in the on-site gallery. Half of the profits from the auction will go to the artists and the other half will be donated to the gallery relocation.


Phoebe Joynt and Bob Wallace, featured artists at Graffiti Gala, each said they feel a personal connection to HOPE Outdoor and think the gala is a great way to fund its relocation.


“HOPE is really somewhere I get to go for passion projects, so I can increase my skills, try and work as big as I want,” Joynt said. “(At Graffiti Gala) I’m expecting just a lot of positivity and good vibes. I’m getting excited about this new transition and this era for HOPE Outdoor.”


Wallace said as soon as he saw HOPE Outdoor, he knew it was special.


“The idea of helping get [the relocation] going and finalized is so great,” Wallace said. “I’m excited to start working at the new space.”


Wallace is also looking forward to seeing Allee’s original idea of “graffiti chic” attire come to life at the gala.


Allee said she wanted to incorporate art into the outfits at the event while also allowing artists to monetize their work. Patrons have their clothing specially designed by an artist matched to them and will then wear their original, graffiti chic outfit to the gala.


Allee said she believes that Graffiti Gala represents the appreciation for art that Austin’s community embodies.


“We have an opportunity to preserve something that is not only unique to Austin in general, but is unique to our local culture,” Allee said. “(Graffiti Gala) is a way to come out and enjoy yourself while also contributing positively to the arts culture in Austin.”