Austin wears its love of art on its walls. Some of the city’s best-known sites are murals, but it’s hard to get all the context just by walking around. A three-part PBS docuseries breaks down some of the city’s “most inspiring murals,” giving viewers a deeper understanding of Austin’s history and providing a handy itinerary for an art-led tour.
Although locals will certainly recognize some of the murals — the Wonder Woman piece on Cesar Chavez is one of the hardest to miss in the whole city — many will illuminate pockets of the city with less traffic. Some of the works are private, so the only chance to see them may be through film.
Muraling Austin, which premieres on March 24, goes beyond artistic inspiration to include information about the organizations that commissioned them, as well as the social causes the art supports.
“We are excited to launch a series that celebrates the phenomenal public art in Austin,” said the show’s executive producer and founder of Nelda Studios Nelda Buckman in a press release. Before creating Muraling Austin, the studio has worked with site-specific material from a Broadway tour (The Prom) to Austin’s Boggy Creek Greenbelt (“Ghost Line X”).
“As supporters of Austin’s creative community, we were drawn to the incredible and moving stories behind these murals and the artists who created them,” she continued. “There’s no better partner for this project than Austin PBS, a highly respected community voice that has reflected the pulse of Austin for over 60 years.”
Along with Wonder Woman, some of the featured murals honor real women like Frida Kahlo andAngela Davis, and mark important historical developments such as the 19th Amendment and the triumphs of the Austin Black Senators baseball team, a minor league, all-Black team playing as early as 1908.
The 30-minute episodes adhere to their own themes: “Pride of Place,” on March 24, is about “community change makers” here and across the country, a theme that is central to the series but especially built out in this episode. “Women Rising,” on March 31st, marks notable women in several fields — the arts, activism, spirituality, and the intersection of all three — plus the artists who relate to them. “Big, Bright & Bold,” on April 7, takes a more aesthetic focus, which highlights not just the painted images, but the architecture they enhance.
"Through feedback and listening, we know our viewers are very interested in Austin’s art and culture, which is why Austin PBS is so excited to bring Muraling Austin to broadcast and streaming audiences,” said Chief Content Officer Sara Robertson. “Our community is full of stories that deserve to be told, and we rely on storytellers like Nelda Studios to help us achieve that mission.”
Featured works and artists are as follows:
- The Beauty of Liberty and Equality (SandraChevrier, Shepard Fairey)
- Protectors of Red Bluff (Ruben Esquivel)
- The Pillars Project: Our History Our Trail (Samara Barks, Amado Castillo III, Chroma Collective, Will Hatch Crosby, Ruben Esquivel, Anabel Gómez, Sadé Channell Lawson, Armando Martinez, Raymond “Rage” Mendoza, J. Muzacz, Carmen Rangel, Kendrick Rudolph, Reji Thomas, Serena Tijerina,Lakeem Wilson)
- Reconnect Yourself (NIZ)
- Viva la Vida (ULOANG)
- It’s Okay Not to Be Okay (Sadé Channell Lawson)
- Paradise Found (Zuzu)
- Virtual Hike (SoledadFernandez-Whitechurch)
- Where The Wildflowers Grow (DAAS)
More information about Muraling Austin is available at muralingaustin.com. The show will air on Austin PBS at 7:30 pm on March 24 and 31, and April 7.