Austinites and tourists will now have more time to visit the graffiti art park HOPE Outdoor Gallery in its downtown location. The private park, which was expected to close this summer and relocate to a permanent home near the airport, will remain open on Baylor Street through October.
Plans for opening the new art park at Carson Creek Ranch, a 58-acre ranch on the banks of the Colorado River in Southeast Austin, have been pushed back to spring 2019 due to construction timeline updates, including delays because of contractor bids, cost changes and permitting requirements.
Andi Scull Cheatham, founder and executive producer of the nonprofit Helping Other People Everywhere Events, which manages the gallery, said the group doesn’t see the push back as a delay. She said updating the construction timeline will allow for a “smooth and seamless transition” that’s less disruptive to the artists and community. “We’re grateful to have more time,” she said.
Mid-City Development, a locally owned real estate development firm specializing in urban multifamily projects, are the new owners of the Baylor Street property and have been working with HOPE on the transition and timeline.
In January, the Historic Landmark Commission approved the demolition of the art park, which will happen after the gallery relocates to its new space and once there’s “comprehensive photo documentation of existing conditions” for Austin History Center preservation, according to the city’s historic preservation office.
The beloved outdoor gallery — which launched in 2011 and has been the site of numerous wedding proposals, family portraits and music videos — attracts an average of nearly 500 daily visitors. Mid-City and HOPE are working to ensure the graffiti park’s legacy continues within the Baylor Street redevelopment even after the relocation.
Plans include a possible mural at the redeveloped site along with a custom art program, which Scull Cheatham said “will highlight the art that has come out of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery throughout the years.” The nonprofit and developer plan to share more details about those projects this summer.
HOPE and Mid-City also are teaming up to bring one of the walls from its Baylor Street location to Carson Creek Ranch as a memorial wall honoring the art park’s roots. The gallery originally launched as a place where street artists and graffiti writers could legally paint on underutilized walls and practice their craft without fear. Fans of the art park can also be part of the memorial wall by participating in a donor brick program, which allows supporters to donate between $125 to $2,500 to have their name engraved on a brick that will be included as part of a memorial wall installation.
“As a fellow community-minded Austin company, we greatly appreciate the unique experience and charity work that HOPE provides our community,” said Jason Modzeleski, marketing manager of Mid-City Development. “The entire team at MCD is proud and excited to be involved on multiple levels in the continuing support and partnership with our friends at HOPE to help ensure their success into the future.”
PHOTO GALLERY: HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Although the Carson Creek Ranch location will be under construction for the next few months, the nonprofit hopes to have some at least some area of the new space ready to use after the Baylor Street location closes. At Carson Creek Ranch, which also hosts annual music festivals such as Euphoria and Levitation, the outdoor gallery will have extended wall space for artists; daily public hours; art classes for youths and adults; lockable areas to protect the artwork; space for private and public events; parking and restrooms.
Its proximity to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will allow those in planes overhead to see how the expansive network of walls will display the word HOPE.
New partners include local hospitality entrepreneur C.K. Chin of Swift’s Attic and Wu Chow restaurants, who will join the project to consult and manage the food and beverage program, as well as specialty events producer Gina Whittington of the Whitt Experience, who will consult on event space development, management and production.
HOPE expects the new art park to exude the same magic as some of Austin’s premier outdoor destinations such as Hamilton Pool.
“We’re taking an iconic outdoor gallery and elevating it,” Scull Cheatham said. “Our goal is to make a unique cultural arts center that showcases large-scale art like nothing else we have in the city.”