There’s a new a 17-plus acre outdoor gallery coming to Austin this summer. Described by its organizers as the largest earthen-built structure in the history of Texas, the open-air cultural events center, art park, and technology gallery, called HOPE, is located off Dalton Lane near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). It was designed by Chioco design LLC.
Its name is based on the original HOPE Outdoor Gallery on Baylor Street, a few miles Southeast of the ABIA, which was built on the foundation of a failed development project from the 1980s. Then HOPE Campaign Executive Producer Andi Scull created a temporary art installation where muralists and community groups interacted and created, the first being a mural by Shepard Fairey. A wall from the original Baylor Street location will become a part of the new park, as well asa concrete walkway bearing the names of local Austin residents and art supporters of the project.
The project began in June of 2019 and was paused in part due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but also to consider the economic impact and opportunities it could have on the Austin creative community.
“When SXSW 2020 was canceled, the future for the events and production industry in Austin was uncertain,” states Andi Scull, HOPE Outdoor Gallery founder and creative director. “Our team saw the importance of taking the time to listen and see that we could be more supportive of the creative class in our city by including more economic and educational aspects to our outdoor art park and tech gallery. We agreed that waiting to see the impact this would have on all the cultural arts groups would be critical, too. We’re so grateful to be able to open our art park for Austin and the creative community.”
After studying the site, which contained dirt and debris from Austin’s robust construction economy, Antonio Madrid, one of HOPE’s Austin partners, along with the design team, decided to use the dirt that was “rich with Austin history” to build the park’s walls as part of their sustainability approach. The new park’s walls, made with 40,000 earth blocks, each weighing 38.5 pounds, relate to the HOPE team’s project theme,“THESE WALLS BRING US TOGETHER.”
According to organizers, some highlights of the project will include the following:
Solar panels from Kinect Solar and First Solar covering the entire “H” of the park
Solar installation with CAM Solar, including job training for women and minorities
Rainwater collection stations and rooftop areas
Repurposed walls, signage, and materials from the original site
Recycled and collected paint with Austin Resource Recovery
Creative gardens and bee apiary development
3D printed fixtures from garbage from re:3D
Retail programming and partnerships for the creative community
Storage space for emergency relief and partner needs
There will also be a dozen repurposed shipping containers at the park that will create opportunities for retail stores, gallery spaces, nonprofit office spaces, storage areas, and the new HOPE Market for Sunday programs that is part of the branding of the original HOPE farmers market.
The four letters of HOPE’s layout will be visible from above Austin and will contain multiple visual and gastro options overseen by Austin restauranteur and HOPE partner CK Chin.
“The outdoor gallery concept is utopian, not because every artist gets along, but because it yields diversity by providing an opportunity for those with creative drive and ingenuity rather than power and resources,” says Shepard Fairey, acclaimed graphic artist, social activist, and longtime supporter of HOPE. “Empowerment is infectious, and the electricity from a space like the HOPE Outdoor Gallery creates a chain reaction of excitement and participation. Whether one is there to take an art class, take part in a charity event, party, or paint a wall, there is no question that the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is a community incubator.”
For more on the HOPE Outdoor Gallery and Park, please visit its website here.