Folks driving past the iconic "Welcome to Austin" postcard mural on South First Street this weekend might have been surprised to see it gone. But don't worry — it's only temporary.
After a rallying cry was sounded in August, Austinites pulled together and pooled the $10,000 needed to restore the mural, which had fallen into disrepair. Rory Skagen, one of the original muralists, signed on to take over the restoration alongside Creative Action, a community-based program that will send local teenagers to work alongside the artist.
"Work is under way," says Troy Madres, who is overseeing the restoration of the mural. "On Friday and Saturday, a professional crew was hired to hand-scrape the wall. Right now, there is nothing there."
But the wall (on the side of Roadhouse Relics) won't stay blank for long. Over the next few weekends, Skagen and his team of volunteers will hand-paint the mural, projecting the original image onto the wall and tracing over it.
An area resident has set up a time-lapse camera to catch every detail of the restoration. Madres says the group hopes to make the video available on YouTube after the project is completed. While the original schedule called for the mural would be back up and visible to the public by Halloween, Madres concedes the deadline could be pushed back due to the recent rains.
Roadhouse Relics and the Greeting From Austin Mural Restoration Project are planning on a rededication ceremony before Thanksgiving, just in time for folks to get their Christmas card photos taken in front of the iconic Austin spot.