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The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is an extremely vital and special place in the heart of downtown Austin. Due to its natural aesthetic, proximity to the lake in an urban setting and what it offers the community, it has become a highly personal and beloved space to its users.
The Trail Conservancy (TTC) is partnering with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and the City of Austin Art in Public Places (AIPP) program to prepare an Arts and Culture plan for the Butler Trail to contribute to the space and elevate the user experience, while not overwhelming, distracting, or complicating the environment.
The Arts+Culture on the Trail plan is in its final phases of development and community engagement. The Trail Conservancy organized a talented team of art professionals, community engagement specialists, innovators, and a Brain Trust team of stakeholders from the Austin community to lead this exciting project. This is more than a visionary plan for art exhibits on the Trail. It’s a plan for the Trail and its users, a vital and complex place and community supporting arts and culture activities. At the heart of this planning effort, The Trail Conservancy seeks to answer the questions of how Arts and Cultural strategies can:
Broadly serve Trail users and the surrounding communities.
Enhance the experience of users along the Trail.
Support the experience of the natural environment and resources.
Represent the character and diversity of Austin.
Align with other organizational and municipal plans and strategies that affect the Trail.
Increase diversity of Trail users through relevant art and cultural attractions — expanding on who is using the Trail and who feels welcomed.
Assist The Trail Conservancy in meeting their broad goals as an organization.
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The Common Waters Demonstration Project is a celebration of Lady Bird Lake by intersecting art, activism, environment, and community with a collaborative temporary art installation to inform the Trail Conservancy’s Art + Culture Plan. The Common Waters project highlights the beauty and importance of Lady Bird Lake, the heart and common connector behind the Austin community. Artists Rejina Thomas, Ruben Esquivel, and Taylor Davis designed, fabricated, and installed a 10’ x 15’ floating wetland on Lady Bird Lake. These artists have a profound understanding of the history and culture of the minority communities in Austin and have a shared goal of honoring those communities. TTC, an environmental artist, Stacy Levy, and Austin-based curator, Public City, joined together with these artists to make this goal a reality. Click here to learn more about Common Waters
The Trail Conservancy has convened a Community Brain Trust to advise the Art + Culture Plan. This group, created just for this process, will work alongside standing TTC committees that guide arts and culture activities, ecological planning, and project planning. Reflecting various interests of Austinites, the Brain Trust is a committed mix of neighbors, Trail users, equity advocates, cultural anchors, and business and community leaders from districts along the Trail and beyond. The purpose of the Brain Trust is to help shape the engagement strategy in a way that resonates with the Trail’s communities, and to educate the team on the cultural, social, and environmental context of the Trail from a diversity of perspectives.
Arts + Culture is in its early stages of development. Any amount of funding will help establish the program to reality. If you would like to donate to this project, please contact Jessica Burford at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate online here.
The Trail Conservancy in partnership with Austin Parks and Recreation is always looking for community involvement in projects on the Trail. If you’re interested in being a part of this plan, please contact Charlotte Tonsor at email@example.com or consider attending one of our upcoming community engagement opportunities.
The Bill Wood Foundation
Susan Vaughan Foundation
Mary and Howard Yancy
Art in Public Places
Still Water Foundation
Urban Land Institute
Anne Elizabeth Wynn
The Trail Conservancy is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax ID: 87-0699956.