Austin seeks artist to integrate work into ‘streetscape’ redesign


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city is looking for an artist to integrate artwork into its design plans for the revamp of 51st Street in east Austin.

The initiative, part of the city’s Art in Public Places program, will task the artist with creating something that will blend with the “streetscape,” whether that’s standalone sculptures, something built into sidewalks, creative crosswalks, or something else.

The 51st Street Mobility Project includes improved crosswalks, bike lanes, and on-street parking, among other changes. The city is nearly done with planning and intends to start construction in the summer.

“And at this stage, we can get an artist to be integrated into the overall design of the streetscape and the entire capital improvement project,” said Anna Bradley, Austin’s Art in Public Places coordinator.

East 51st Street divides the Mueller neighborhood to the south and the Windsor Park neighborhood to the north, but anyone within the seven-county metro area can submit qualifications to be considered for the $48,000 project.

“We would like something that connects the two neighborhoods to the north and south, districts 9 and 4, because it’s a heavily-populated corridor that both neighborhoods use,” Bradley said.

The city is inviting interested artists to an information session Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Windsor Park Library from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Artists can submit their qualifications through March 7. Artists don’t need to submit ideas for the project yet; that will come as the process moves forward.

“The design process happens in communication with the neighborhoods, and it’s a dialogue,” Bradley said. “[The artist has] an opportunity to listen to what the neighborhood is interested in seeing and have that inspire their artwork.”

Most of the Art in Public Places projects are smaller, singular works, so this gives artists an opportunity they wouldn’t normally get. The city has done similar streetscape art projects in the past, including on 3rd Street and on Colorado Street.

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