Like most major cities in the US, Austin has its cookie-cutter gentrified areas. For every couple of steps you take, you run into a new development nightmare of an unoriginal high rise or apartment communities.
And yet there are still a lot of great things to do and people to meet that can best be described as genuine. “Keep Austin weird” isn’t fair. It’s a place were trying something outside of the box becomes a real thing. If that city is being taken over by the “too cool”, it won’t go quietly into the night.
One of the things that stood out to me was a place called HOPE Outdoor Gallery. Keep in mind Austin has a vast array of murals and street art, all that I recommend seeing. However, this is a fully immersive experience. It literally is what the name suggests, an outdoor gallery that not only showcases street art, but allows for audience participation. Yep, bring your Kyron, find a spot, and you too can create.
HOPE itself is an art/music collective that uses its projects to get people involved and contributing beyond what paper can provide. The HOPE outdoor gallery is the equal to a skate park, but for artists.
I was very lucky to be given their most recent book, “These Walls Can Talk”, which chronicles the art from 2010-2016. They also have shirts and take donations. However, it’s worth your time and effort to make the trip and support the work that these artists are doing by seeing it firsthand.