Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Hole in the Wall first to receive assistance from Iconic Venue Fund, signs 20-year lease

Lorianne Willett
People walk past Hole in the Wall on August 31, 2023.

The Hole in the Wall, a music venue in West Campus, obtained a new 20-year lease after receiving $1.6 million in assistance from the City of Austin through the Iconic Venue Fund.

Hole in the Wall is the first venue to receive an investment from the fund, which was established in late 2020. The fund is part of the Austin Cultural Trust, a community arts initiative managed by the Austin Economic Development Corporation. The AEDC partnered with Hole in the Wall owner Will Tanner and the venue operator to secure a 10-year lease with two five-year extensions. 

Theresa Alvarez, president and CEO of AEDC, said the Hole in the Wall operated month-to-month after its last lease expired in April, putting the venue at risk for displacement. 

“What’s so beautiful about this is that this Hole in the Wall investment represents to the larger community that venues can be saved, and there is a creative way to get this done,” Alvarez said. 

Alvarez said AEDC reviewed Hole in the Wall’s application to the Austin Cultural Trust last spring from a pool of 45 applicants. She said the decision to advance the venue as a candidate for the funding took only a few months. Yet, a lengthy legal process delayed the official agreement to Aug. 15 of this year. The $1.6 million will be invested in the club in different amounts on a monthly basis, Alvarez said. 

Door attendant JD Brunson said Hole in the Wall is owned and operated by musicians for musicians, attracting a community of regulars since its doors opened in 1974. While Brunson said he never worried too much about Hole in the Wall’s permanent closure, he felt an extreme sense of relief when he learned the club secured a long-term lease. 

“(There’s so much) history that creates the culture,” Brunson said. “It’s not just one or two years of being this community, this hallmark … it’s year after year after year.” 

Brunson said he was very happy for the community that defined the Hole in the Wall for so long. 

Jenna Liu, a regular at the club since 2009, said she commutes from Cedar Park multiple nights per week to visit her “favorite bar in the world.” Having performed her first set at the club last year, Liu said she associates it with a sense of safety. 

“A lot of the people who come here are musicians (and) artists (and are) on the same wavelength in that sense,” Liu said. “There’s so much history, musical energy and talent … it definitely lingers in the walls.” 

The Hole in the Wall celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Brunson said in the next 20 years he’d like to see even more bands and music-lovers experience the Hole in the Wall community. 

“This investment is so important because the music venues in Austin are what makes Austin such a cool place to live,” Alvarez said. “Music, arts and culture are the backbone of Austin’s background, and it’s important for us to preserve that.”

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About the Contributors
Sarah Brager, General News Reporter
Sarah is a journalism junior from Buda, Texas. She's currently a senior news reporter, and she previously worked as a life and arts reporter and an opinion columnist. When she's not reporting for the Texan, Sarah loves hiking, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and doing crossword puzzles.
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.