Hope Outdoor Gallery, along with the help of Sound & Vision Social Club and Austin's patrons of the arts host a benefit for the gallery's permanent move from its iconic downtown home.
A spectacle of painted canvases and painted bodies. The Graffitti Gala, held on September 22 at The Belmont located in Downtown Austin brought musicians, artists, and art enthusiasts from all over the city to raise funds and celebrate the art at The Hope Outdoor Gallery that has been created over the years, connecting them all.
Austin, Texas is a city defined by its connection to the arts. Walk down any of the main streets and you will find walls adorned with towering, vibrant murals and paintings along with the city's many street performers and musicians ready to show visitors, and remind residents, why we say "Keep Austin Weird". The Hope Outdoor Gallery is a place that even if you don't know it by its actual name, chances are you've been if you've ever visited Austin. The Hope Outdoor Gallery, constructed in 2011, is the beloved graffiti park situated on Baylor Street in Downtown Austin tucked inside a residential area behind a dozen or so newly renovated shops and restaurants. The park has become a space not only for local artists to showcase their talents; it's a place to share a common appreciation for creative arts for the community.
In January, the city's Historic Landmarks Commission approved the demolition of the park, which will most likely be replaced with a multi-family housing development, as the land sits in a profitable and heavily sought area. At the end of October, the gallery will cap its spray paint cans, close down, and begin its relocation to Carson Creek Ranch near Austin Bergstrom Airport, a move that was always planned, according to Bethany Alley, the Executive Director and Founder of Sound & Vision and The Graffiti Gala. To aid the cost of the park's relocation, the gallery, enlisting the help of Sound & Vision Social Club, planned a benefit.
The benefit, cleverly named The Graffiti Gala, provided a night filled with countless performances by local bands and music producers and featured art from 12 artists whose work was up for auction during the event. The venue was packed with people ranging in ages from their early 20s to their late 70s admiring paintings, taking pictures along the pink carpet, enjoying like minded conversation, or swaying their hips on the dancefloor.
One music producer, who goes by the name Teddy performed her first set publically for the event. "My friend Meagan is pretty much running the show and she’s an amazing woman. And I’ve been fortunate enough to share my music with her and she was like dude you have to come out,” Teddy says. Teddy went on to talk about what art meant to her and why it's important to us as human beings. "Man! I mean I think art is just something for a lot of people. It's an escape. It's a way for them to get their feels out."She ended saying,"I think that it's important to support that outlet."
Those that attended all shared the same feeling about art and specifically about Hope. That they want to help a place that had been there for so many people. Alley held her child's 8th birthday at the outdoor space.
Attendee Chloe Bodenhamer spoke about how Hope had been there for her as well over the years. “When I first moved to Austin, the Hope Gallery was the place that I would go at night when I was freaking out about moving to a new place; and I would just sit there and enjoy the art and enjoy the stars; and so the fact that its moving, I want to help make it a more peaceful transition.”
Even though Austin has a number of other murals and sights for visitors and locals to flock to, there isn't anything like Hope in the city. Bodenhamer very sternly said, “We don’t have anything that’s a staple like this. A place where everyone from the community, it doesn't matter who you are, what you do ,what walk of life you're in; you can put your art next to someone else's.”
The event finished with all of the attendees gathering in the main courtyard to hear the founder of The Hope Outdoor Gallery, Andi Scull Cheatham thank everyone for attending the event. Her speech was met with hoots and hollers from an audience decked out in an array of varying fabrics and textures doused with paints of all colors. The audience continued to dance and sway spilling their drinks and revelling in the atmosphere as the hour struck 12, signaling the end of the first annual Graffiti Gala and a night of shared love for the arts.
The benefit was more than just a way for The Hope Outdoor Gallery to raise money. It was a way for the community to showcase just how much art means to them. That no matter what infrastructural changes within the city may come, art and the gallery will always be a part of the lifeblood of Austin.
For live coverage of the event check our twitter.