Photo by Studio Uma

A long-standing staple of Austin's artistic community is seeking to expand its premises and improve accessibility for patrons in a new vision plan for the site's future.

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum (stylized UMLAUF) is collaborating with international architecture and engineering firm Page to develop its Historic Preservation, Expansion and Unification (HPEU) Plan. In addition to expansion and accessibility improvements, the vision plan will also include details to preserve the 1.93-acre portion of the property that encompasses the namesake Umlauf home, artist's studio, and sculpture garden.

"Our goal is to give every single visitor — from those who know little about Austin to those who frequent the Garden regularly — the opportunity to experience the full scope of this treasured site," said Umlauf Board of Directors President Jennie Branch in a release. "As Austin has grown exponentially, the Umlauf remains committed to sharing this vital part of the City’s history within eight acres of green space in the heart of Austin."

Page has an extensive history working on major projects in Austin while managing environmental concerns. The firm has helped construct the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the Austin Convention Center, the Second Street District, Rainey Street, and much more.

Page will be tasked with addressing storm water runoff and surface pollutants at the Umlauf as part of the HPEU Plan.

"Page’s people, plus their long history of innovation and sensitivity to environmental concerns, made them the right choice for the Umlauf," Branch continued.

The architecture firm also has a previous connection with the sculpture garden. Lawrence Speck, Page's Lead Principle architect, is the creator behind the original Umlauf Gallery and Terrace.

"We were honored to help create the original Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum back in the 1980s, but this project is absolutely about the future… the future of the UMLAUF, and the future of Austin," Speck said.

The Umlauf is seeking community input before moving forward with the HPEU Plan. The sculpture garden always has fundraising opportunities at events, such as The Domain's Starlight Soiree this October.

More information about the vision plan and a public survey can be found on umlaufsculpture.org.

Totally Cool Totally Art/Instagram

Totally cool downtown museum displays student art from Austin teens, with more classes to come

after school art

We all know someone who goes to museums and says, “I don’t get it; I could do that.” What if we started reframing that as, “I should do that”?

The Mexic-Arte Museum, one of Austin’s best-loved art museums, is bridging that gap for teens, showing their mentor-facilitated works in an exhibit called Totally Cool Totally Art (TCTA), named for the City of Austin outreach program that has been connecting youth artists with professionals annually since 1996. The 2023 installment is open to the public until February 28.

The City of Austin and Parks and Recreation Department have organized a long-form art program for students from 7th to 12th grade, who contribute paintings, sculptures, digital art, film, and more, to be shown at the museum. Social media records show that in addition to producing serious works that would look at home in any art gallery, the program also has a sense of humor, especially in its many forays into film.

Although a finished piece is one end goal, TCTA declares a mission to use mentorship to enrich teens beyond the art skills, emphasizing “new experiences … respect and trust,” and giving them something engaging to dedicate time to after school.
There’s plenty of other programming for kids at the Mexic-Arte, which offers a similar program, amArte, that sends artists to local schools for monthly workshops requiring less of a time commitment to engage students.

TCTA is in the middle of its 2022-2023 season, with more classes coming on March 2 and 6, and April 18. Past years have included a summer camp after the regular season, which has not been announced yet. Late registrations are welcome.

Classes are taught at the following locations:

  • Dittmar Recreation Center
  • AB Oswaldo Pan Am Recreation Center
  • Northwest Recreation Center
  • Rudolfo "Rudy" Mendez Recreation Center
  • Gus Garcia Recreation Center

Visit the exhibit at The Mexic-Arte Museum for inspiration until February 28, or find more information, including registration links, at austintexas.gov.

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.


“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

Blanton Museum of Art

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."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin artists play AC Hell Fest at Hoel Vegas, plus more non-ACL music picks for early October

Music Notes

Whether you’re planning to dive into ACL or not attend at all, you should take note of the great local, non-fest gigs that are on the calendar during the same timeframe. See below for recommendations.

Balmorhea at the Paramount Theatre – Thursday, October 5
Get yourself to the Paramount Theatre this Thursday, October 5, to experience the acclaimed neoclassical and instrumental act Balmorhea. Joseph Shabason will open the show. Tickets range from $30-$40. By the way, if you haven’t already done it, you should listen to Balmorhea’s 2023 album, Pendant World.

Breast Cancer Resource Center Benefit at Hotel Vegas – Saturday, October 7
Hotel Vegas will be hosting a benefit for the Breast Cancer Resource Center this Saturday, October 7, and the lineup for it features a trio of quality indie rock acts, including Black Books, March And Beauty, and Fragile Rock. Cover will be just $10 via a suggested donation at the door.

Half Dream at Swan Dive – Saturday, October 7
Half Dream will release their anticipated debut album, Will I Still Bloom?, this Friday and then follow it up with a release party at Swan Dive the next night (Saturday, October 7). The dreamy rock act will be joined by Buffalo Hunt and Batty Jr. Tickets for the show are $10.

Booher at the Mohawk – Thursday, October 12
Indie rock vet Booher has been hard at work on new music, and you can check out the first batch of tracks at his 7” release party at Mohawk on Thursday, October 12. Trumpeter Swan and Saint Loretto will serve as support. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 the day of.

AC Hell Fest at Hotel Vegas – Saturday, October 14
In need of some direct ACL counterprogramming? Then look no further than the nicely titled AC Hell Fest, which will happen at Hotel Vegas on Saturday, October 14. Riverboat Gamblers are set to headline, and you’ll also be able to see Starving Wolves, The Oxys, Tiny, Del-Vipers, The Get-Lows, User Unauthorized, and No Association across two stages. Tickets are $25.

Peelander-Z 25th Anniversary Show – Sunday, October 15
Peelander-Z just put out a new album, P-Party! Z-Party!, and they’re also celebrating their 25th year as a band. Get in on all of the fun at their show at The Far Out Lounge on Sunday, October 15. Dog Party will open for the colorful punk rockers. Tickets are $15.

Iconic Mexican restaurant hatches new West Austin spot for more grilled goodies

A Fresh New Fresa's

Beloved Austin restaurant Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, known for its fresh Mexican fare and poultry-forward, wood-grilled menu, is expanding its coop with a new location in West Austin. The latest location is at 3600 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. and is open to the public as of October 3.

Patrons can expect Fresca’s signature al fresco ambiance, interior design, and expansive menu of grilled dishes and more at this Loop 360 eatery. Familiar design, like the vibrant aesthetics crafted by Austin architect and designer LEVY DYKEMA, are paired with new features like its new 6,000-square-foot space and breathtaking views of the West Lake Hills. The restaurant includes indoor dining space for 160 guests, seating for 38 guests on the patio, and some additional bar seating.

“Having served fellow Austinites for over a decade, we’re grateful to bring our concept not only to a new neighborhood but to my neighborhood,” said Fresa’s co-owner Margaret Vera in a press release. “We can’t wait to share the new space with the community. We really tried to create a space that captures the spirit of Westlake and the Hill Country.”

As a resident of the West Lake Hills herself, Vera is excited to bring the Fresa’s experience and its well-known patio vibes to the neighborhood, which is full of loyal customers, who often had to venture to other locations.

“The Hill Country backdrop is an added bonus,” Vera tells CultureMap. “We actually built a new patio into the previous space to make eating wood-grilled meals and sipping margaritas over the sunset possible.”

Guests can enjoy regular live entertainment, drink specials, events, and music on the Fresa’s 360 patio, much like the programming at the South First Street location. Seasonal menu items such as wood-grilled wings and a ceviche tostada are available to order through October. Fresa’s 360 will also offer other typical items from the concept’s rotating holiday menu, like Thanksgiving dinners and tamales, throughout the year.

Since opening its first and most famous location on North Lamar Boulevard in 2012, Fresa’s has continued to elevate the dining experience for guests, solidifying itself among a list of must-eat places in Austin. Plans for more locations, including a fourth sit-down spot in Mueller, are on the horizon for 2024.

Fresa’s 360 is open seven days a week. Dine-in hours are 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday and Sunday. To-go window hours are 8 am to 10 pm daily. The happy hour menu is available from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday.

Fresa's 360 interior

Photo by Jane Yun

Fresa's 360 location is open now at 3600 N. Capital of Texas Highway.

Beyoncé brings dazzling Renaissance Tour to big screens with new concert film

big-screen bey

“The goal for this tour was to create a place where everyone is free ...and no one is judged.”

So declares Queen Bey in a just-released trailer for RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ, a new documentary and concert film coming to major movie theaters on Friday, December 1 across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The new film chronicles Houston-born Beyoncé's journey from concept to performance as she treks across the globe in her worldwide, 56-performance, 39-city Renaissance tour.

Houstonians (and fans who made the drive) are still buzzing from the two-day H-Town homecoming (read our review here) that near-capacity crowds pack NRG Stadium for the often breathtaking, three-hour shows that featured a cameo by fellow Houston-born superstar Megan Thee Stallion.

Tickets for the concert film — a joint production between Parkwood Entertainment and AMC Entertainment — are on sale now at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com. Fans can also find tickets at Cinemark, Regal, Cinepolis and Cineplex, all of which will screen the movie. Tickets will also be available at numerous movie theatre circuits in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico later this week, according to an announcement. Admission for all standard showtimes will start at $22, plus tax.

RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ is a must for any Beyhive member — as well as those who want to reminisce attending the epic shows, or those who missed her tour stops. The big-screen treatment is fitting: short of seeing the shows live, there is no better way to take in the Renaissance tour's dazzling effects, lasers, and pyrotechnics, mind-bending visuals on huge screens, unforgettable costumes (A.I.!), Megan's surprise, and of course, Queen Bey riding through the air atop a glittering Reneigh, her trusty, mirrorball, shimmering steed.

Fans can look forward to multiple showtimes daily on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, for a minimum of four weeks, according to press materials. RENAISSANCE will also be available in IMAX (the ideal viewing) at AMC and Dolby Cinema at AMC, and other branded premium large format screens.

Kicking off atthe opening show in Stockholm, Sweden and documenting each stop to the grand finale in Kansas City, Missouri, the film captures rarely seen, behind-the-scenes moments of a Beyoncé tirelessly working and preparing and sharing tender moments with her children and family.

Meant to further articulate her “everyone is free/no one is judged” mantra, scenes will depict the more than 2.7 million fans from around the world who dressed in silver and shiny outfits, took part in her Joy Parade, and nailed the Mute Challenge at each show.


Find RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ tickets at at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com.