Earlier this month I spent about five days in Austin, Texas, checking out the art scene and visiting some friends. This was the third stop in what has been fun series of travels. Last fall I hit up Denver and Portland (Ore.) as well. Basically what I do on this trips is go to as many art galleries and museums as possible, in an effort to get my arms around the city's art scene, meet some new people, and see what artists are doing in other cities. Its an incredibly fun -- if not exactly inexpensive -- way to see the country and visit old friends who live in these cities as well.
I found the art scene in Austin a little difficult to get a handle on. There did not seem to be a "gallery district" as such, and my quest to find the small, contemporary, single- or dual-artist galleries came up pretty short. What there seemed to be much more of were "collectives" or multi-artist shop/galleries, such as the Austin Art Garage.
My best discovery was Canopy, a large, multi-artist studio/gallery space in Springdale, east of the city. If I'd visited on a better day, such as when most of the studios were actually open and accepting visitors (and...not during COVID), this probably would have been a gold mine of art viewing and networking. As it was, I still met some super friendly fellow artists (almost everyone I met in Austin, artist or not, was pretty cool) who gave me the lay of the land in terms of the art scene. Shout out to ICOSA Art Collective and Ivester Contemporary.
The Blanton Museum on UT's campus was absolutely incredible. Great collection of contemporary art and not just the usual suspects either. Women, people of color, and artists from outside the U.S. seemed to be very well represented, which is always refreshing.