That's the thing about this city, the community has changed so dramatically that I worry if I’m not trendy with new art, I will no longer be accepted as an original “Austinite”. The art that you immerse yourself in while in Austin is seen, heard and felt through; music, handmade artworks, and the strategic placing of items all around the city. When walking down congress the first thought in your mind will be, “wait is that a coldplay song''. The music from the open windowed bars, excitedly drifts into the street drawing in people of all ages.
Crossing the bridge on my way to Starbucks I snapped a few pictures of handmade art at the Mexic-Arte museum. The Mexic-Arte museum sells handmade crafts whose profits go back to the mexican and hispanic community. This shining star of diversity celebrates hispanic and mexican americans and their traditions. Inside their gift shop you'll find; Candles, Ear rings, necklaces, mugs, magnets, portraits, glass and wooden home decor, all homemade. Showcasing line designs and hispanic women leaders and of course Frida Kahlo, amongst other items. All sold and available after you tour the art gallery and hear at least one Selena song.
When I arrived inside Starbucks I didn't focus on anything but my order at first because I hate my level of awkwardness. However, as soon as I stepped aside I noticed the light fixtures and the interior decoration. I was speechless and immediately started to mentally praise this establishment. As soon as you step to the side and look up you will notice theatre and microphone light fixtures. Then as you look at the wall it's covered in brown and black multi-speakers each varying in size giving you the euphoric illusion of walking into a concert. Unless you look around your surroundings you wouldn't notice this community adjustment. It's definitely an added benefit to the culture and a great background to tourist photographs. This remodel is one of the few things that helped establish one of the many nicknames this great city has begun to embrace “Live music Capital of the world”.
After leaving the remarkably designed starbucks I went to the number one most visited place in “Austin City Limits”. Everybody is always at the lake when it’s hot and windy. It’s one of the main reasons people move to this city, the lake, the art and the music scene. The lake has wildlife exposed but also protected. There are turtles and ducks and fish swimming around from one side of the lake to the other. There are pelicans, bats and multiple types of birds along with the squirrels and friendly strays that roam around as you run, walk, bike or scooter down the nature trail. The new bridges and stone walkways at any given time are facing different types of graffiti that show off talent, but now have come to share small bits of hope. The graffiti displayed on the side of the train railway, that's crossing over the lake is; a dinosaur blowing blue fire out of its mouth while still wearing a mask, next to that the word “BREATHE” colorfully in all caps, and then just for fun you see Pac-Man and his followers. It brings hope, it makes you laugh and it acknowledges pain during these uncertain times. While journeying towards the lake you'll notice a bunch of random street art and graffiti on the sides of businesses, abandoned buildings and inside very busy stores. Of course, with graffiti, you will always get those who are defiant just because like when they mark cones and construction zones and street signs. But even that doesnt turn the true artists away.
Artists are now, and I imagine in the future, are in high demand in Austin. LGBTQ+ and other protests are all utilizing art as a way to reach others without verbal interactions. The sixth street of Austin is known all around the U.S. because it’s the one spot in Austin with the most clubs and bars and foot traffic at night. It is in the middle of downtown and passing by or through is inevitable. Its closeness to the capital as well draws a heap amount of traction. On your way down sixth street to congress and appearing directly in front of the capital there are ten intricately painted murals. In one, it has a black background with a beautiful shining black queen standing in gold like a cleopatra, while the gold clouds behind her drip on her body, the quote on the side is in english and spanish including more than one group of individuals. However, the main photo that shines is literally a starry background, rainbow border and a black woman and hispanic man happily stare at each other with the words “Black and LGBTQ+ Lives Matter '' on top. This reminds people that art can be used to reach people even when the conversation ceases. Honestly, I feel like this city just like Los Angeles, Miami, San Fran and New York, all the major cities that hold hundreds of thousands of people, give the illusion that this city is only loved for superficial vein reasons. But as you’ve noticed there’s way more to it than that. People constantly speak about how this city is fun and it's where they found their party hat. Equality is important in this city and being able to share your stand, opinion and art with the world inspires everyone to feel seen and heard.
Murals in Austin used to only exist in the poor neighborhoods. They used to only consist of graffiti but everyone is now taking note and appreciating good art. Known artists from Austin and the new transplants are all lining up for a new interesting spot on the freeway or downtown where they can display their talent. It's risky because not all of the new business and transplants understand and appreciate the value of street art and do their best to hide and shun what doesn’t match their image. Furthermore, more popular businesses like Bumble and Chick-Fil-A are embracing and searching for new hands to display their reach to newer eyes. Because honestly, who doesn't stop by a street painting and wonder in awe at its beauty, silliness and raw talent. That’s the thing about this city, we love to “Keep Austin Weird”!