Writing on the Walls 2020
Imagine downtown Austin coming to life with new art adorning sky-high buildings, workshops bringing the community together, and artist demonstrations inspiring local creatives to step out of their comfort zones to make something beautiful. The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation truly ignited the potential of downtown through art and creative spaces during the inaugural Writing on the Walls celebration in March 2020.
More than murals, Writing on the Walls 2020 was a week-long celebration of art, diversity and public spaces in our community. More than 25 local artists took part in Writing on the Walls events, which included panel discussions, workshops, a spray party, public art demonstrations and documentary movie screenings. Artists also visited local schools as part of the Artist in Schools program to inspire and engage young creatives.
“This project is the result of months of collaboration with partners in Austin and internationally. The events and art installations will spark curiosity, interest and community engagement throughout downtown Austin. We invite Austinites and visitors to take these opportunities to connect with downtown, local artists and each other. ”
— Molly Alexander, Executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation
Three muralists were chosen to create two larger-than-life murals that would forever change the downtown Austin cultural scene. From international superstars to local up-and-comers, these artists were chosen because of their visions on how to illustrate important social topics in an engaging way.
A Candian pop urban artist known for her captivating portraits of women, Chevrier's portraits are torn between the heroics and iconography of comic books, oppressed female identity, and the superficial illusion it conveys.See more of Sandra's art⟶
An internationally renowned street artist who has painted more than 100 large-scale public murals. Designer of Obama's HOPE poster and founder of OBEY clothing, Shepard Fairey is one of the most influential street artists of our time.See Shepard's Portfolio⟶
An emerging Austin-based artist who explores the complexities of identity and mental illness through her work. The use of the female form, dreamy landscapes and a variety of bright colors aim to elevate moods and inspire introspection.View More of Sadé's Work⟶
“The Beauty of Liberty and Equality”
Topping out at 12 stories, this iconic mural, affectionately called the “Wonder Woman” by Austinites, has already become a new landmark embraced and celebrated by locals and visitors alike. Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier collaborated with American street artist and graphic designer Shepard Fairey on the design that fuses both of their styles and incorporates a collection of illustrations that evoke the power of women and the history of women’s rights in this country.
Visit “The Beauty of Liberty and Equality” on the side of the LINE hotel at 111 E Cesar Chavez. If getting downtown via CapMetro, use bus routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 17, 19, 30, 20, 801, or 803 and head two-blocks to the mural from Republic Square. If cycling, you can use the nearby Cesar Chavez and Congress BCycle station located at 124 W Cesar Chavez Street.
“It’s Okay Not to Be Okay”
Inspired by her personal experiences with identity and mental illness, Sadé Lawson created her largest work to date on North Lamar Boulevard near the Gables Park Plaza. The theme of this piece is women’s empowerment and depicts a woman experiencing three emotional states in three different colors. Adding a bold splash of vibrancy to the downtown landscape, these murals exemplify Lawson’s fresh, unique style while exploring identity and mental health.
Visit “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay” near 261 N. Lamar Boulevard. If visiting downtown via CapMetro, bus routes 5 and 4 and UT shuttle 663 pass through the area. If cycling, you can use the nearby 5th and Bowie BCycle station at Whole Foods Market.
Events & Activations
In addition to organizing the installation of new murals, the Foundation partnered with local artists and nonprofits to host events and activations throughout the week, including workshops, film screenings, artist demonstrations and live mural painting. Bringing the community together to celebrate, collaborate, and learn from each other through art was truly the Foundation’s mission in action.
Writing on the Walls was made possible through the generous support of individuals, companies and partners. Thank you to these folks for making Writing on the Walls 2020 the absolute success it was.