Art City Austin

Jump into Austin's art scene with these 7 spectacular spring events

Jump into Austin's art scene with these 7 spectacular spring events

West Austin Studio Tour 2017
The WEST Austin Studio Tour returns.  Big Medium/Facebook
Rodney McMillian: "Against a Civic Death" opening reception
Rodney McMillian's "Against a Civic Death." Image courtesy Rodney McMillian; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; and Maccarone, Los Angeles/New York
UT Fine Arts Affordable Dream Home
Rosa Nussbaum's piece in "Affordable Dream Home" Painting by Rosa Nussbaum
West Austin Studio Tour 2017
Rodney McMillian: "Against a Civic Death" opening reception
UT Fine Arts Affordable Dream Home

As a community, Austin's art scene has landed on the pages of some major publications recently thanks to the opening of Ellsworth Kelly's Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art. In honor of this monumental piece, we did a little investigating to uncover what else is going on Austin's art world.  

With spring officially sprung, the season marks the return of a few classic Austin art events, as well as the addition of some exciting new ones. Take a look — and jump right in.

Rodney McMillian's "Against a Civic Death" — now through August 26
In 2016, The Contemporary Austin announced the creation of the Suzanne Deal Booth prize, an annual $100,000 grant and artist's show at the Congress Avenue locale. With his show "Against a Civic Death," the prize's inaugural winner, Rodney McMillian, examines class, gender, race, social history, and culture. McMillian works in many different mediums, and often uses found or scavenged materials in his work. His profound show is a can't-miss. 

Tom Molloy's "Black and White" — April 7 through June 12
Returning for his sixth show at Lora Reynolds Gallery, Irish-born Tom Molloy examines American race relations through a series of drawings and found photographs. Now living in France, Molloy offers an outsider's perspective on the social constructs that perpetuate much of our country's inequality and injustice. Molloy will be in attendance during the opening night festivities on April 7 during which he will also conduct an artist's talk. 

Art City Austin — April 13-15
Since 1950, Austin's iconic outdoor art festival/citywide block party has celebrated local art. The Art City Austin: Fine Arts Festival is taking over the Palmer Events Center pavilion for three days of events, family-friendly activities, and, naturally, art. More than 100 local and visiting artists will be represented, giving attendees an opportunity to meet the makers and purchase individual pieces. Tickets are $10 to attend the festival and $40 to partake in the VIP opening ceremony on April 13. 

Women & Their Work's "I Am Art"  — April 14
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark gallery which honors — you guessed it — women artists. The Lavaca Street space, which sits just south of UT's campus, will be hosting special events all year long, but the blowout bash, "I Am Art," will take place on April 14. Tickets to the lavish party are $250 and include performance art, DJs, a mirror room, photo booth, cocktails, and more. Or, consider splurging on the $350 VIP tickets which include a cocktail hour catered by Uchiko, an original artist-made headpiece to wear during the event, plus first access to more than 25 pieces of original art.

Affordable Dream House April 20 through May 11
See the next wave of artistic greats at the capstone show of the University of Texas' 2018 Studio Art MFA's graduating class. The show's tongue-in-cheek title is a reference to a desire to feel like an individual within a group and marks the collective end of more than two years in the studio for these artists. A special opening reception will be held on April 20, and for an extra dollop of culture, consider attending Colloquia on April 30 and May 2. On those evenings, graduate students from the Department of Art History will join the MFA grads in critical conversations about their work.

O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships — May 12
So this may not be visual art, but watching wordsmiths and linguists compete in the O. Henry Pun-Off is one of the best things you'll see this spring. Back for its 41st year, the event is held every year at the namesake museum on Fifth Street, in honor of Austinite and writer O. Henry (aka William Sydney Porter). Thirty-two contestants compete in two different categories: Punniest in Show, which features prepared puns, and Punslingers, where competitors are given a topic and then have five seconds to craft a pun.

WEST Austin Studio Tour — May 12-13 and May 19-20
When it's fall, we head EAST. When it's spring, we head WEST, that is, to the West Austin Studio Tour. Each year, more than 100 working artists (in this case, those who work west of I-35) participate in this two-weekend event. Free and self-guided, participants should grab their bike (or at least a good pair of walking shoes) and hit the town to tour studio spaces, purchase original artwork, and celebrate Austin's working artists.