AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Arts + Culture on the Trail plan for the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is in its early phases of development and community engagement. The goal of this plan is to enhance the space with art and cultural programming in hopes to elevate the user experience in a way that’s not overwhelming, distracting or complicating the environment.

The Trail Foundation is partnering with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Austin Art in Public Places for this project.

Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Heidi Anderson, CEO of The Trail Foundation.

“If we bring public art to the hike-and-bike trail, to expose trail users that normally don’t see art and vice versa, to bring people who are interested in arts to the trail for the first time potentially,” Anderson said.

Easy access to nature and maintaining the habitat is a must. They want to be thoughtful but strategic in their planning, collaborating with the community every step of the way.

“This is such a sanctuary for people. People are very protective of the trail, and we are as well,” Anderson said.

Miriam Connor with Public City is striving to increase diversity. With that as the forefront of the initiative, she wants to expand upon who is using the trail and who feels welcomed.

“So we have done a creative call to people in Austin and surrounding areas in Austin, because people have been displaced and pushed out,” she said.

Three local artists were chosen for the upcoming Common Waters temporary installation project that is set to take place on Lady Bird Lake.

The artists selected were Rejina Thomas, Ruben Esquivel and Taylor Davis. Meteorologist Sean Kelly got to chat with these artists about what this project meant to them and the importance of art on the trail.

Over the course of six weeks these artists were given the opportunity to collaborate together and design and create plans for a floating wetland project.

These artists went through workshops led by environmental artist Stacy Levy to influence the final product of their design. The theme of the workshop were: cultural preservation, climate change and resilience and environmental activism.

The floating art piece was revealed to the public on May 14.

  • Common Waters floating wetland art exhibit launches Saturday, May 14, 2022 (KXAN Photo/Christian Marcelli)
  • Common Waters floating wetland art exhibit launches Saturday, May 14, 2022 (KXAN Photo/Christian Marcelli)
  • Common Waters floating wetland art exhibit launches Saturday, May 14, 2022 (KXAN Photo/Christian Marcelli)

The Trail Foundation is encouraging the community to come out and help in installing the final product on the water. You can join the artists at the Waller Beach Boat Launch near the Holiday Inn at 10 a.m. on May 14 to help plant and assemble the wetland.

Saturday’s event will also include live music, interaction with the artists and volunteer opportunities.