Transforming 301 Congress
Anchored by the 5-story mural “Where the Wildflowers Grow” by the artist DAAS, the 301 Congress Porch is amid a massive transformation. Putting community-driven design first, this nook of Austin’s downtown is quickly becoming a place for creativity, inspiration, and activity for all through the Writing on the Walls program.
About the 301 Congress Porch
In 2020, in conjunction with funding partner HPI, the idea to turn 301 Congress’ outdoor area into an inviting and welcoming space for downtown was born. After an extensive community outreach effort led by our team, Austinites identified the six things they envisioned for the 301 Porch: to see a space that is safe, fit for all-weather, flexible, active, attractive, and livable.
The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation continues to work toward these community-set goals through physical transformations, like murals and furniture, and by planning programs and events to energize the space.
Call for Artists
Marking the beginning of 301’s metamorphosis, a call for artists was released in Spring 2022 to transform the background of the Porch with a dazzling 60-foot-tall mural. This art would set the tone for the rest of the improvements to come.
After a wildly competitive open call for art, 60 highly qualified artists submitted their proposals for the 5-story canvas. After months of committee and community deliberation, the Austin artist DAAS was selected to bring his vision to life.
“The Foundation is honored to work with DAAS, whose vibrant murals grace the walls of major cities across the United States, as well as Japan, China, Jordan and Nepal. Writing on the Walls is dedicated to creating art in public spaces in downtown Austin, and we look forward to providing residents and visitors with another larger-than-life work of art by bringing this local artist’s vision to life.”
— Raasin McIntosh, Director of Parks and Placemaking, Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation
A bit about DAAS from his website: “DAAS is a contemporary artist, internationally recognized for his vibrant, engaging paintings and murals. DAAS’ mural work utilizes a combination of abstract and representational imagery, driven by a distinct color palette and design aesthetic which incorporates bold shapes and organic forms saturated in vivid colors, to create larger-than-life artworks focused on bringing a sense of beauty and inspiration into the surrounding space.”
“As an artist, I recognize the importance of artwork in the public sphere that inspires, encourages and uplifts the entire community, inclusive of all ages, backgrounds, genders and sexual orientation. My values align with the impactful work that the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation is doing and it’s such an honor to have been chosen to illustrate that on Texas’ main street.”
— DAAS, 301 Congress Porch Selected Artist
Where the Wildflowers Grow
“Where the Wildflowers Grow” touches on themes of resiliency through community in an uplifting and beautiful way. This piece was designed by DAAS to be inclusive and inspire people to be outside in this space where they can root themselves with others. This mural is on its way to becoming one of the most iconic works of art in downtown Austin that reflect its unique character, history, and creativity.
“Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son – the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”
Micheline Ryckman, The Maiden Ship
“Where the Wildflowers Grow” is complete and can be seen at 301 Congress now! Here’s a peek at how the process of how this stunning mural came to life:
First, aluminum panels needed to be installed over the surface of the brick to protect the building and give DAAS a smooth surface to paint his masterpiece on.
Over the course of 2 weeks, DAAS breathed life into the 301 Congress porch and finished his mural ahead of schedule.
In the fall, we’ll have a ribbon cutting to commemorate the completion of this stunning piece. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media for announcements as that date approaches so we can take a moment to celebrate together as a community.
How to Get Here
We strongly encourage the use of public transit or micromobility options to reach the 301 Congress Porch! If cycling, you can use the nearby 2nd and Congress BCycle station located at 151 E. 2nd Ave. If using CapMetro, bus routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 17, 19, 30, 20, 801, and 803 are a two-block distance to the mural from Republic Square. If you are bringing your own vehicle and need a place to park, stop by and check out the nearby on-street parking options and parking garages.
The Future of 301 Congress
Although murals are beautiful, they need to be surrounded by other people-centered enhancements to create a true place for community to blossom and flourish. We’re excited to continue this partnership with HPI as we move into the next phase of mural completion and Porch design. Keep an eye out for updates here as this space continues to grow and we begin focusing on curating community-centered programming to keep the 301 Congress Porch an active and vibrant place.
A huge thank you to HPI Real Estate Services & Investments is in order- without their funding and initiative to reach out to transform the Porch of their building, this project would not have been possible.