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Arts & Culture

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On the Trail

Arts &

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 survey is now closed.


The Heart of the Issue

Questions &

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:

Community Service

Broadly serve Trail users and the surrounding communities.

Trail Experience Enhancement

Enhance the experience of users along the Trail.

Environmental Support

Support the experience of the natural environment and resources.


Represent the character and diversity of Austin.

Municipal Planning and Strategies

Align with other organizational and municipal plans and strategies that affect the Trail.

Increase Diversity

Increase diversity of Trail users through relevant art and cultural attractions — expanding on who is using the Trail and who feels welcomed.

Goal Assistance

Assist The Trail Conservancy in meeting their broad goals as an organization.

Engagement Timeline

  • Engage. #1 – Share your Butler Trail and Lady Bird Lake stories! (Completed)
  • Call for Artists, Designers & Creatives (Completed)
  • Engage. #1 – Online Survey – Feb. 3 – May 23, 2022 (Closed)
  • Engage. #2 – Trail/Community Intercept Surveys – Spring/Summer 2022 (Completed)
  • Engage. #2 – Community Workshop – March 6, 2022 (Completed)
  • Engage. #3 – Arts + Culture Celebration – May 14, 2022 (Completed)
  • Engage. #4 – Arts+Culture Pop-up at Fortlandia on the Trail Grand Opeing – October 8, 2022 (Completed)
  • Engage. #4 – Virtual Mtg – October 11, 2022 (Completed)
  • Engage. #4 – Online Survey: Oct. 12 – Nov. 15, 2022 (Closed)

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Arts + Culture Projects

Common Waters

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

Arts + Culture Team & Committee Members

Team Leaders

Todd W. Bressi is one of the nation’s leading public art planners. He has worked throughout the U.S. and Texas on numerous public art plans, including plans for art on multi-use trails, and through his ongoing consulting he provides strategic, program and project guidance to several urban arts organizations. He will manage the project and be the lead in developing public art strategies, policies and procedures.
Stacy Levy is one of the nation’s leading environmental artists, with a practice that explores how natural processes and urban places are intertwined. She will play a lead role in discussions about the relationship of public art, ecology and urban spaces, as well as in public engagement and formulating public art opportunities.
Ellen Ryan is a national leader in the development of arts and cultural initiatives within organizations with parks, recreation, preservation and environmental missions. She brings experience in initiating arts programming at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fairmount Park Conservancy, foundation experience and deep involvement in national networks involved with these topics. She will collaborate on develop- ing arts and culture strategies, policies and guidelines.
Public City (Meredith Powell, Miriam Conner) is an Austin-based firm with a unique focus on art- based community engagement and experience supporting community-led plans for trails in Austin. Public City will play a lead role in developing community engagement strategies and be our team’s on-the-ground liaison for planning and managing that aspect of the project.

Team Members

  • Todd W. Bressi
  • Stacy Levy
  • Ellen Ryan
  • Meredith Powell
  • Miriam Conner
  • Jamie Castillo
  • Taylor Davis
  • Maya Curtis
  • Christine Chute Canul – PARD
  • Mary G. Yancy – TTC
  • Reynaldo Hernandez – PARD
  • Susan Lambe – AIPP
  • Heidi Anderson – TTC
  • Hanna Cofer – TTC
  • Charlotte Tonsor – TTC
  • Marjorie Flanagan – AIPP
  • Sharon Maidenberg
  • Jessica Wilson- WPD

Committee Members

  • Mary G. Yancy – Chair
  • Ilse Frank
  • Ann Graham
  • Susan Lambe
  • Shea Little
  • Barbara Atwell
  • Laura Esparza
  • Reynaldo Hernandez
  • Carre Adams
  • Sandra Gonzales
  • Sharon Maidenberg
  • Christine Chute-Canul
  • Michelle Rojas
  • Rocio Villalobos
  • Andree Bober
  • Jessica Wilson
  • Heidi Anderson
  • Charlotte Tonsor

Share Your Story

Share your Butler Trail and Lady Bird Lake stories with us. You can read submitted Trail user stories from Trailheads on our blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

The Trail Conservancy in partnership with PARD will announce community engagement events where new information and updates will be presented to the community.

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 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 or consider attending one of our upcoming community engagement opportunities.

Contact For More Information

Charlotte Tonsor, The Trail Conservancy:
Christine Chute-Canul, Austin Parks and Recreation Department:

Arts + Culture Plan Sponsors

Advocates ($25,000)

The Bill Wood Foundation

Susan Vaughan Foundation

Mary and Howard Yancy

Steward ($10,000)

Art in Public Places

Still Water Foundation

Urban Land Institute


Anne Elizabeth Wynn

Susan Zane