Austin radio legend memorialized in public art installation
A new project is in the works to celebrate the life and legacy of Austin radio personality Larry Monroe. Family, friends and fans are banding together to create the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge in commemoration of his 30-plus years on local airwaves.
The project will turn a charming Travis Heights bridge into a mosaic masterpiece honoring the champion of Austin music, who passed away in January 2014. A longtime DJ on KUT and later KDRP Sun Radio, Monroe was the mastermind behind such highly regarded programs as Blue Monday, Phil Music and Texas Radio Live. He was described by KDRP as "a pillar of both the Austin and music worlds — a renowned on-air personality, a musician’s advocate, and a dear friend to all of us."
In December, the City of Austin and Austin Arts Commission unanimously approved the project, which will be located on Eastside Drive near Monroe's former home. Since January, Monroe's partner Ave Bonar and mosaic artist Stefanie Distefano have led volunteers (including Monroe's grandchildren) in creating ceramic tiles for the mosaic.
Tiles will include musical instruments, radios, cassette tapes and more. Featured in the mosaic will be a 22-foot long musical score of some of Townes Van Zandt’s lyrics, says the group's Facebook page. Other local songwriters like Blaze Foley, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Mandy Mercier will also be included.
A Crowdrise campaign for the project is well on its way to reaching a $20,000 goal. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to Distefano, and anyone who donates by March 1 will be offered a tile with their name on it.
To follow the progress and installation of this moving tribute, visit The Larry Monroe Forever Bridge Facebook page.