The city's newest park is welcoming a most unusual visitor — a 20-foot octopus named Ocho. The striking art installation is just one of the many features of Jessie Andrews Park, now open in East Austin.
Named for the University of Texas at Austin's first female graduate (and first woman professor), Jessie Andrews Park is a one-acre greenspace located at 2601 Philomena St. in the Mueller development. It's the neighborhood's eighth park, part of the developer's plan to use 20 percent of the property for public use.
Along with Ocho, the work of Texas-based artist Dixie Friend Gay, the new park also boasts amenities such as:
- outdoor dining area with space for visiting food trucks
- a "nature-inspired" playscape
- tables for games
- bike racks
- live performance area
- central lawn for family activities and more
Eventually, the park will be adjacent to an AISD middle school, which is currently under construction.
“Mueller’s latest park is yet another gem in the community’s open space crown,” said Greg Weaver, executive vice president of Catellus, developer of Mueller, in a release.
“This is a special place where people who live in Mueller and throughout Austin can gather for fun and relaxation within the residential setting of Mueller and the urban environment of Austin.”
But, of course, it's the magnificent octopus that is likely to capture visitor's attention. Friend Gay's sculpture — her third piece in Mueller along with Nessy in Lake Park and a giant spider sculpture in the Southwest Greenway — sits atop the restroom building. The piece itself is crafted out of forged metal and coated with color shift paint "meant to mimic how octopi camouflage themselves."
Ocho's new home near Austin Studios, the nearby film studio, also served as part of the inspiration, Friend Gay says.
"I designed the sculpture by drawing inspiration from the classic creature movies of the 1950s and 1960s, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mysterious Island," the artist says, "and my hope is that it fosters that sense of child-like wonder for park-goers.”
As mentioned, Jessie Andrews is the neighborhood's eighth park. Now officially open, the park joins Northwest Greenway, Lake Park, Southwest Greenway, Ella Wooten Park, Paggi Square, John Gaines Park, and Mary Elizabeth Branch Park in the Mueller development.