How to still enjoy Austin’s iconic HOPE Outdoor Gallery even after its closing

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s three-story graffiti park officially closed on Wednesday January 2. It’s where spontaneity and creativity have been converging for the last 7 years.

HOPE Outdoor Gallery is also one of the most photographed places in the city. 

“I heard about this, sent her a picture, she’s really interested in photography,” said Rafith Hoque who was visiting Austin with her friend Kim Opipari. 

But as of Thursday, fences surrounded the popular graffiti park.

“It’s kind of disappointing,” said Opipari. 

“I was bummed, especially since I saw videos of people climbing up and down, taking so many picture around it. More of the hands on art experience is what I like,” said Hoque. 

The demolition of the park has been in the works for some time. The graffiti park on Baylor Street in downtown is scheduled to reopen later this year at a new location, which will next to Carson Creek Ranch, which is near the airport. 

While going up to the top to look at the murals isn’t an option anymore, an Austin-based tech company has found a way to make sure the Austin icon lives on. 

“We happened to be working on this technique, and we heard a place we care about is going to be going away, so we wanted to preserve it and make it a snapshot in time and share with everyone,” said Ian Villamin, Vice President of Interactive Development at SubVRsive. 

Back in May, SubVRsive sent out crews and deployed a drone to take 10,000 pictures of the gallery. 

They then created a 3D walk through using virtual reality and augmented reality

“It’s not easy for people to go to places that are far away or expensive to travel to, or are in the past, they don’t exist anymore, so VR presents an opportunity to share all of those experiences with people around the world,” Villamin said. 

When you put the headset on, the VR experience lets you walk through and see what people saw on that day in May when the crews were out there. 

If you would like to try it out, Villamin said, “Every Sunday at the downtown Austin Public Library, if you go to the technology petting zoo, you can put on a headset and explore graffiti park.”

They also created an augmented reality experience that you can download on your mobile device if you have an iPhone. 

“Maybe some day, I’ll have kids that grow up in Austin, and maybe they’ll get to see something their dad used to goof off and do when he was their age,” said Villamin. 

New development for the old site

KXAN also got a first look at how the HOPE Outdoor Gallery’s old location on Baylor Street in downtown will be transformed. 

Ownership of the Baylor Street site has been transferred to Mid City Development, a locally owned real estate firm. 

The company told us it’s planning on building luxury condos with up to 20 units. 

Mid City is working closely with HOPE to incorporate permanent art in the new development. 

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