Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation
Creating a downtown everyone loves through transformative projects and thoughtful investmentsAbout
Writing on the Walls 2021
A public art project celebrating iconic Texas Governor Ann Richards' legacyAnn Richards Art Project
Creating an active and interesting public space for the whole community to enjoy
The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation was established in 2019 as the 501(c)(3) nonprofit extension of the Downtown Austin Alliance. The Foundation’s mission is to ignite the potential of downtown—through art and creative spaces that capture the spirit of Austin—by and for everyone.
The Foundation is charged with implementing key projects that support the Downtown Alliance’s vision. That includes holding the management contract to operate, program and fund Republic Square, as well as leading place-based activations and initiatives downtown as outlined in the Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience.
To get involved or for more information, please contact the Foundation.
Ann Richards Art Project
Writing on the Walls 2021 is a public art installation showcasing former Texas Governor Ann Richards, marking the 30th anniversary of her inauguration. The project features almost 100 banners along Congress Avenue containing twelve notable quotes and images of the big-haired governor throughout her lifetime. To introduce the governor to a new generation, we created selfie spots near the banners and hired Soledad Fernandez-Whitechurch to create an Instagrammable cutout of Gov. Richards.Learn More⟶
Republic Square has been downtown’s central gathering place since Austin’s founding. The Downtown Austin Alliance is responsible for keeping the park active and welcoming. And the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation oversees all of the park’s operations, maintenance, programming, events and fundraising.Visit Website⟶
Writing on the Walls
Writing on the Walls is an annual series of collaborative public art installations and events. At the inaugural event in March 2020, local, national, and international artists–Sandra Chevrier, Shepard Fairey, and Sadé Lawson–simultaneously created two new landmarks in downtown Austin. In Fall 2020, local developer Manifold Real Estate and Hsu Architecture invited us to partner on four murals at their Bouldin Creek project. The Foundation commissioned local artists Jana Swec, Tyler Hobbs, Soophie Roach and Soledad Fernandez-Whitechurch to complete the project.Learn More⟶
The Foundation is responsible for producing and curating family-friendly events that showcase the best of Austin. Annual celebrations like Austin’s Birthday Bash and the Downtown Holiday Stroll bring Austinites together for fun, free entertainment while increasing the economic and cultural impact of downtown.
Downtown Holiday Stroll
Every December we kick off the holiday season by hosting the Downtown Holiday Stroll, where thousands of Austinites gather to celebrate the holidays downtown. The stroll is accompanied by live music, carol singing, an artisan market, local food, performances and the downtown tree lighting.Learn More⟶
Austin's Birthday Bash
On August 1, 1839, Austin's first plots of land were auctioned off in present-day Republic Square under what we now call the Auction Oaks. Beginning In 2018, we started an annual family-friendly celebration of Austin’s birthday with food, live music and free fun for the whole family. Every August, this event celebrates the past, present and future of our great city.Learn More⟶
Future of Downtown
The Future of Downtown highlights the findings from our annual State of Downtown economic development report. In addition to insights on economic trends, we report on progress towards the community’s vision for the future of downtown.Learn More⟶
The Foundation will create place-based research to uncover what makes—and keeps—downtown vital, welcoming, and evolving in the right direction. The Downtown Alliance's strategy, priorities and principles will continue to be guided by downtown data and the resulting analysis.
Support Our Work
When you give to the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation, you are making a direct impact on the future of downtown and the future of Austin. Your gift supports the projects and programs that will bring the Downtown Austin Vision to life and make ours the downtown you will always love.Give Now⟶
Blue Starlite Drive-in
In August 2020, the Foundation partnered with Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in and the Texas Facilities Commission to host a COVID-friendly downtown drive-in movie theater every weekend of the year. Screenings continue to take place Thursday-Saturday nights on the rooftop of 300 San Antonio Street. The drive-in format was also used to host other creative community events such as slam poetry nights.
Shop the Block
The Foundation partnered with the businesses on the 600 block of Congress through a new City of Austin program to reinvigorate downtown. The program helped businesses and restaurants activate their sidewalks and outdoor areas through socially distanced dining areas, music and programming. The success of this program led to a quicker re-opening of Royal Blue Grocery and Caroline’s restaurant.
Busking on Second Street
The Foundation privately raised money to hire local musicians to play live music on Second Street every Saturday and Sunday starting in February 2021. Through this partnership with Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) and the 2ND Street District, we were able to successfully promote shopping and dining while putting Austin musicians back to work.
Clarity Parks Project
Republic Square was chosen by the Clarity Parks Project and Project for Public Spaces as one of three urban planning spaces to receive a $47,000 grant from the makers of Claritin. The grant was used to enhance and protect the Auction Oaks, adding new landscaping, plantings and water-resilient features in the area surrounding the history trees. The work to enhance the health of the 850+ year old Auction Oaks was partially funded by a grant from the City of Austin's forestry division.
P A R K S P A C E
A colorful grid of yellow, orange and red squares were painted on the lawn at Republic Square as part of the Austin Foundation for Architecture installation series, P A R K S P A C E. The installation was designed to help park visitors visualize social distancing so they could safely enjoy outdoor activities six feet apart. The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation, AIA Austin and Austin Parks and Recreation department partnered with AFA on the initiative.
Central Park Conservancy
Republic Square participated in the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks' inaugural 2019-2020 Partnerships Lab. It was one of only five U.S. organization selected for this prestigious mentorship program.