Character of a city

New statue of Austin icon Leslie Cochran could be downtown's next tourist attraction

Statue of icon Leslie Cochran could be Austin's new tourist attraction

Austin Photo Set: News_Leslie Cochran_older photos_march 2012_3
A statue of Leslie Cochran could be heading to Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. Leslie Cochran/ Facebook

KVUE — There are a lot of ways to describe Leslie Cochran: unconventional, offbeat, quirky. But there's one word that almost everybody would use to describe the late downtown fixture — Austin.

Now, a local filmmaker is trying to literally solidify his image. "He was ahead of his time in many ways," explained Spencer Nutting, who has worked for years on a film covering Cochran's impact on Austin. Nutting's first encounter with Cochran came during the 2000 presidential election when they worked together to hand out T-shirts poking fun at allegedly stolen Bush debate preps.

"(Cochran) came chasing after me and said, 'Spencer, Spencer, I need more of those shirts. We're all out,'" Nutting recalled.

Nutting wants his film to also serve as a memorial for Cochran, and plans to incorporate the statue into his piece. "I was looking for something to unite these stories together, and I had an epiphany," said Nutting.
That's when he reached out to local sculptor Bob Coffee to create a life-size model of the statue.

This past weekend, they took it downtown to have it fitted on a bench, where passersby were quick to take a seat.

While Cochran is undoubtedly well known by locals, there has been pushback over whether others are more deserving of a statue.

"If they feel that there's somebody else more important, I'm not disputing that. If they want to make a statue, be my guest. But I'll let you know, it's a lot of work," said Nutting, who added he's spent two years working with local commissions to get the statue approved.

If it is funded, the statue will sit on Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. He is currently trying to raise money to complete the project.

"This is not going to be a donation from Spencer Nutting to the city of Austin. This is going to be a gift to the people. Symbolically, it needs to come from the people," said Nutting.


To read the full story, and see the video, head to KVUE.