Guests making their way around Zilker Park during this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival were greeted by a massive 30-foot by 10-foot mural imploring viewers to vote. And while it showed up as the fun backdrop on many social media feeds, the mission of the mural was far more serious.
For fans of Irene's or the shuttered Arro on West Sixth Street, the style — bright colors, graphic shapes — may seem familiar. Austin-based artist Xavier Schipani was tapped by Midterms Matter, a non-partisan grassroots voting effort started by Elizabeth Chapin, Nathaniel Chapin, Rachel Lomas, and Miguel Rangel, to craft the arresting piece of public art.
Schipani drew inspiration for the design from the country's long tradition of protesting. "It starts at a march and ends up at the polls. That narrative was important," he says. "You can't just be out there marching or complaining or hashtagging stuff, you have to actually show up and turn out to vote. Or else all that doesn't matter."
Beginning on Friday of the first weekend, Schipani and the Midterms Matter team spent (many sweltering) hours painting the massive canvas while handing out bandanas, T-shirts, and working in conjunction with Headcount to register voters. By the end of the weekend, with the mural complete and fest-goers already snapping Instagrams, the group estimated it had registered more than 100 new voters.
Check out the video above by Morgan Dhée and Alex Dhée of @WingedSunProductions to find out the full story.