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Austin Public Library/Flickr

People can learn a lot at the library. Besides all the books, magazines, online resources, and in-person programming, Austinites enjoy a buffet of rotating art exhibits that populate the gallery at the Central Library downtown, publicizing local artists and teaching visitors about the culture around them.

Now the ever-changing Austin Public Library is looking for another new exhibit sometime in 2024 between January and September, and inviting artists to apply through February 28.

Good news for artists who crave freedom, and frustrating news for artists who love something to bounce off of: This engagement offers few to no parameters. There is no explicit theme, but the library does claim a mission in a press release about the call for artists.

“The mission of the Central Library Gallery is to support local artists and art communities, raise awareness of contemporary and diverse forms of art, and to provide exhibitions in which a wide variety of identities and interests are represented,” said the release.

The Central Library website lists four current exhibitions: Hannah Hannah lends some expressionist portraits, Release the Puppets tells stories in a classic and playful medium, the Austin American-Statesman explores Austin communities of color through photographs, and a traveling exhibition documents Pride parades of the past.

The call is addressed to “artists, collectives, curators and beyond,” further widening the possibilities, but still restricting them to applicants residing in Texas. Applicants should consider the size of the gallery (2,700 square feet) and a few logistical stipulations, including that pieces may not be hung from the ceiling, and that walls may be painted.

When the jury — made up of local artists and others in the industry — announces a winning proposal in March 2023, the artist will be offered a stipend to complete the work. All project costs are the exhibitor’s responsibility, so this stipend is not unlike an advance, except that the project will not continue to generate revenue at the library.

Applications are open now through 11:59 pm on February 28, 2023. Applicants may make their proposals via submittable.com.

Courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

'Tis the season to get artsy with 7 exciting Austin exhibits for December

State of the Arts

Free up your mind, spirit, and some time this December to appreciate all the arts on offer in Austin, from new installations to pop-up shows and year-end group exhibitions. New lights dazzle at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden with family-friendly sculptural art works from the Design Shine juried competition; over 120 rescue dogs have earned the spotlight in art works created by local and national artists capturing the Tito’s distillery dogs rescued over the years; and the Blanton presents the work of modern artists created prints, drawings, paintings, illustrated books, sculptures, and decorative objects informed by the craftsmanship and compelling historical figures of the Middle Ages in Medieval X Modern. So many options to dazzle the senses this holiday season.

Long Center
“Impressions of Tito’s Distillery Dogs Over 25 Years” — Now through January 4, 2023

Inspired by the 120+ distillery dogs rescued over the years, Tito’s Vodka for Dog People has unveiled its newest project, a one-of-a-kind, 25-piece art collection featuring vibrant dog artwork created by local and national artists. Dogs are a huge part of the brand's story, and since the early days when strays found their way to the distillery, they were always well received and the employees would feed, nurture, and find them loving homes. Each portrait depicts a dog’s unique story and legacy of resilience, with featured work by local artists including Tom Jean Webb, Sam Soper, Saira Holland, Raine Lipscher, Lindsay Laser Smith, Judy Paul, John Walker, Joel Ganucheau, Jeff Skele, Hope Perkins, Erika Jane Amerika, Elissa Marie, and Amy Ringholz.

ATX Wonderspaces

“Micromonumental Mapping, the Essence of Creation by Limelight” — New Installation
The Essence of Creation by Limelight was originally created to be displayed on the Opéra de Lille in France for the Lille Video Mapping Festival that was set to take place in April 2020. Due to COVID 19, the festival had to be postponed so the artists decided to downscale and project it onto a 1:40 3D model of the building. Inspired by the national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo, who has been recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the Sun and light, poetry, war and death, the artwork conveys this complexity by using the symbolic and physical elements of the building.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden

“Design Shine” — December 1 through April 15, 2023
Presented by the Emerging Professionals Committee of AIA Austin and the UMLAUF, the Design Shine juried competition was created to promote emerging talent in the fields of architecture and design. This year’s competition showcases winning installations by three local design teams, Crux Celestia, Introspectacle and Prismascope. Each presents a unique interpretation of the 2023 theme, Designing for Discovery with the goal of enlivening and energizing the UMLAUF Garden in new and unexpected ways with captivating, family-friendly sculptural art works. All three installations include elements of light that can also be enjoyed during evening events or viewed from the street.

Wally Workman

“America Martin: Solo Show” — December 3 through 30
America Martin is a Colombian-American fine artist based in Los Angeles and has been called a rising star in the contemporary art world with a national following. Martin describes herself as a painting anthropologist, working primarily with paint on canvas and paper to explore the human experience and the human form. Taking inspiration from Mid-Century Modernist masters, her distinctive style is underscored by the use of boldly brushed lines and punctuated bursts of color to imply tone and mood. She treats her subjects with an obvious reverence, and in a manner that captures their individuality and their dignity.

Ivester Contemporary

“Late Bloomer” — December 3 through January 14, 2023
Late Bloomer is a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Honduran-American artist Jasmine Zelaya. Zelaya has used portraiture to explore themes of identity throughout her career, specifically from the perspective of a first generation, Latinx artist. This newest body of work is heavily informed by memory, the awkwardness of youth, and the experience of assimilation. Graphic floral masks, a subtle head tilt, teary eyes, and explosive gradients of color all coalesce to capture the strong, mixed emotions of introspective teen years. Zelaya’s work explores themes of identity, assimilation and the brown body through a familial narrative rich with symbolism.

Flatbed

“31 BY 12” — December 10 through January 7, 2023
This annual group exhibition includes work by twelve artists: Adrian Armstrong, Miguel A. Aragon, Connie Arismendi, Jennifer Anderson, Pepe Coronado, Laura Berman, David Everett, Mike Hart, Peter Nickel, Heather Parrish, Maricela Sanchez, and James Sullivan. Thirty-one refers to the number of projects published during 2022. Each project might include over fifty unique monoprints while some projects are editioned etchings or lithographs.

Blanton Museum

Courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

Carlos Alonso, Que corrían mordiéndose [Those Who Run Biting Each Other], on display at the Blanton.

“Medieval X Modern” — December 10 through July 9, 2023
Many artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were fascinated by the styles and subjects of medieval art. Soaring cathedrals and ornate illuminated manuscripts impressed artists living in an era of increasing mechanization, while reverent visions of saints and heroes offered inspirational models in the midst of war and political violence. Along with representative medieval objects, Medieval X Modern presents the work of modern artists from Europe and the Americas who created prints, drawings, paintings, illustrated books, sculptures, and decorative objects informed by the spectacular craftsmanship and compelling historical figures of the Middle Ages. Drawing primarily from the Blanton’s permanent collection, Medieval X Modern offers a wide array of artistic responses to the European Middle Ages, including one of the museum’s most iconic works — Ellsworth Kelly’s "Austin."

Photo courtesy of ICOSA Collective

ICOSA Collective presents "This Is Now" opening reception

ICOSA Collective presentsThis Is Now, a group exhibition curated by Vladimir Mejia.

This Is Now is the first phase of an art exchange between Antenna, an art collective based in New Orleans, Louisiana and ICOSA Collective. Selected by Vladimir Mejia, the exhibition introduces Austin to the work of 13 members of the Antenna Collective. In turn, Antenna will present the work of members of the ICOSA collective in a show to be held at Antenna in January of 2023.

The first exhibition of this two-city art exchange is comprised of a diversity of works from Amanda Cassingham-Bardwell, Amelia Broussard, Angel Perdomo, AnnieLaurie Erickson, Caesar Meadows, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Laura Gipson, MaPó Kinnord, Nic Brierre Aziz, Renee Royale, Rontherin Ratliff, Stylo Moniker, and Ursa Eyer. While over 500 miles separate the two artist collectives, the common goal to support their fellow artists and share their community’s creative output brings them together.

Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display until January 7, 2023.

Photo courtesy of The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art presents "Medieval X Modern" closing day

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents "Medieval X Modern," an exhibition that explores modern artists’ fascination with the Middle Ages.

The exhibition showcases 19th- and 20th-century works by artists across Europe and the Americas, from prints and drawings to paintings, illustrated books, sculptures, and decorative objects, that are influenced by the styles and subjects of medieval art and architecture.

Paired with medieval objects, the modern works in the exhibition show a renewed interest in the craftmanship and mediums associated with the Middle Ages, such as illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, and woodcut printmaking, as well as the era’s compelling figures and tales.

Drawn primarily from the Blanton’s collection, "Medieval X Modern" includes exemplary medieval works alongside works by Ellsworth Kelly, Marc Chagall, Robert Rauschenberg, and Clare Leighton, among many other modern artists who turned to the Middle Ages for inspiration. Created during a time characterized by increased industrialization, war, and political change, the artworks reveal ideals and anxieties of the modern age.

Photo courtesy of The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art presents "Medieval X Modern" opening day

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents "Medieval X Modern," an exhibition that explores modern artists’ fascination with the Middle Ages.

The exhibition showcases 19th- and 20th-century works by artists across Europe and the Americas, from prints and drawings to paintings, illustrated books, sculptures, and decorative objects, that are influenced by the styles and subjects of medieval art and architecture.

Paired with medieval objects, the modern works in the exhibition show a renewed interest in the craftmanship and mediums associated with the Middle Ages, such as illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, and woodcut printmaking, as well as the era’s compelling figures and tales.

Drawn primarily from the Blanton’s collection, "Medieval X Modern" includes exemplary medieval works alongside works by Ellsworth Kelly, Marc Chagall, Robert Rauschenberg, and Clare Leighton, among many other modern artists who turned to the Middle Ages for inspiration. Created during a time characterized by increased industrialization, war, and political change, the artworks reveal ideals and anxieties of the modern age.

The exhibit will be on display until July 9, 2023.

Photo courtesy of ICOSA Collective

ICOSA Collective presents Window Dressing XXIV: "Oil Over Troubled Water" opening day

“Oil Over Troubled Water” is a window display by Texas-based artist Jesus Treviño that takes a closer look at transgenerational histories, experiences, and collective and long-term trauma in relation to his personal experience.

The title refers to the calming effect that a drop of oil has on water as it spreads over the surface. This display includes a vessel made of soy candle wax that holds water from the Rio Grande River as well as various “Resacas,” former outlets of the River. This material is meant to invoke and commemorate the land as well as carry a wishful gesture to alleviate tension surrounding the Borderlands.

The sculpture will inform, supplement, and create a safe space for stories to be shared in the form of painting that is also composed of and affected by the symbolic material held within the vessel.

Following the opening day, the exhibit will be on display until November 28.

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2 trailblazing Texans to be honored with history-making award at Austin museum

local history ripples

There are many conceptions of Texas around the world, but most can agree that Texans do have a knack for making history. An annual acknowledgement by the Texas State History Museum Foundation (TSHMF) will celebrate the contributions of two very different Texans who used their leadership skills to coordinate huge wins for their respective teams.

Retired Navy Admiral and former University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach will be honored with the History-Making Texan Award at the 19th Annual Texas Independence Day Dinner, taking place March 2, 2023, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

Photo courtesy of Bullock Museum

The History-Making Texan Award winners will be celebrated at the Bullock on March 2.

McRaven’s contributions and Staubach’s are similar by nature of leading teams — one commanded troops and the other played an integral part in the Dallas Cowboys into a wave of undeniable success — but the similarities mostly stop there.

McRaven led troops to rescue the ransomed Captain Richard Phillips, search for Osama Bin Laden, and ultimately capture Iraqi politician Saddam Hussein. The Four-Star admiral has advised U.S. presidents in his retirement and written several books, mostly imparting wisdom around changing one’s own life, and hopefully the world around them.

Staubach took a more entertainment-based path to greatness, rising to fame as a star player while lifting the rest of the Cowboys with him. The team had nine consecutive winning seasons with Staubach, of 20 total. Aside from giving Texans yet another point of state pride, Staubach spent his retirement and influence on real estate and philanthropy.

“Our recipients reached the pinnacle of accomplishments and eminence in their fields. Importantly, they were selected as honorees based on their personal character and commitment to improving the lives of others,” said dinner chair and TSHMF trustee Lisa Cooley in a press release. “They stand as role models to emulate, and we look forward to sharing their dramatic and inspiring stories with our guests.”

The dinner supports the Bullock Texas State History Museum with ticket sales and underwriting from nearly 500 attendees annually. Austin’s Jan Felts Bullock, wife of Bob Bullock and museum trustee, joins Dallas’ Cooley as honorary chair. In 2022, the award went to pianist James Dick and philanthropist Lyda Hill.

More information about the foundation and the History-Making Texan Award is available at tshmf.org.

SXSW rolls out next round of music showcases for 2023, including 29 Austin artists

300 more

Obviously, 190 music showcases is not enough for South by Southwest. That’s 19 a day? Make it another 301. On December 7, SXSW announced the second round of 2023 showcasing artists, bringing the current total to almost 500 acts performing March 13-18, 2023, in Austin.

Of those newly announced artists, 29 are from Austin, and eight more are from Texas, keeping the local numbers relatively high compared to the whole world. This round contains almost 10 percent Austin bands, while the first round contained nearly 7 percent.

Some of the more widely recognizable Austin acts announced in the second round include:

  • Good Looks: Vocalist and guitarist Tyler Jordan cites an increasingly venerated Austin band, Spoon, as an influence. Good Looks is guitar riff-driven, wistful, and a little Southern in sound.
  • Graham Reynolds (solo), Graham Reynolds & The Golden Arm Trio: A prolific composer and bandleader, Reynolds’ name pops up all over Austin films and awards ceremonies. He appears solo and with an eclectic jazz trio.
  • Kalu & The Electric Joint: Frontman Kalu James arrived in Austin from Nigeria at 18 and has made a strong name for himself (and guitarist Jonathan “JT” Holt) through psychedelic, vaguely jazzy, and decidedly funky jams.
  • Pleasure Venom: One of the rawest acts in town, Pleasure Venom is well-known for punk hits (and honest takes) that don’t hold back. The band is consistently making news between lots of live shows and festival appearances.
  • Primo the Alien: Solo artist and producer Primo the Alien is bringing the 80s back with synthy electro-pop. She attaches it all to a double persona that’s both candid on social media and a delivery system for sensory overload onstage.
  • The Tiarras: A triple-threat band of sisters, The Tiarras are always thinking about family and stepping into their power. They’ve tackled topics like lesbian and Latina representation, and although they’re young, they’re seasoned pros.

The remaining Austin bands in the second round are: Andrea Magee, Big Wy's Brass Band, Billy King & The Bad Bad Bad, Caleb De Casper, Daiistar, Del Castillo, El Combo Oscuro, Font, JM Stevens, Johnny Chops, Marshall Hood, Otis Wilkins, Pink Nasty Meets El Cento, Rett Smith, Rod Gatort, Schatzi, Shooks, S.L. Houser, The Tender Things, Thor & Friends, Trouble in The Streets, and West Texas Exiles.

Showcases are the base unit of the SXSW music experience, so to speak. They may be solo or part of a multi-day affair, especially when sponsored by large entities like Rolling Stone. Attendees with music wristbands get priority, but all wristbands get access if space remains.

Even as the lineup seems to bulge at the seams, a press release states that there are more to come. A full schedule of showcasing artists, where users can select events for their customized schedule, is available at schedule.sxsw.com.

Texas entrepreneur's SPAC announces merger with tech company in deal valued at $100 million

spac-tacular move

A Houston SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, has announced the company it plans to merge with in the new year.

Beaumont-based Infrared Cameras Holdings Inc., a provider of thermal imaging platforms, and Houston-based SportsMap Tech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SMAP), a publicly traded SPAC with $117 million held in trust, announced their agreement for ICI to IPO via SPAC.

Originally announced in the fall of last year, the blank-check company is led by David Gow, CEO and chairman. Gow is also chairman and CEO of Gow Media, which owns digital media outlets CultureMap, InnovationMap, and SportsMap, as well as the SportsMap Radio Network, ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

The deal will close in the first half of 2023, according to a news release, and the combined company will be renamed Infrared Cameras Holdings Inc. and will be listed on NASDAQ under a new ticker symbol.

“ICI is extremely excited to partner with David Gow and SportsMap as we continue to deliver our innovative software and hardware solutions," says Gary Strahan, founder and CEO of ICI, in the release. "We believe our software and sensor technology can change the way companies across industries perform predictive maintenance to ensure reliability, environmental integrity, and safety through AI and machine learning.”

Strahan will continue to serve as CEO of the combined company, and Gow will become chairman of the board. The transaction values the combined company at a pre-money equity valuation of $100 million, according to the release, and existing ICI shareholders will roll 100 percent of their equity into the combined company as part of the transaction.

“We believe ICI is poised for strong growth," Gow says in the release. "The company has a strong value proposition, detecting the overheating of equipment in industrial settings. ICI also has assembled a strong management team to execute on the opportunity. We are delighted to combine our SPAC with ICI.”

Founded in 1995, ICI provides infrared and imaging technology — as well as service, training, and equipment repairs — to various businesses and individuals across industries.

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This article originally appeared on our sister site InnovationMap.