The 20th annual Austin Studio Tour has come to a close, showcasing 530 locally-based artists and their take on the paths that brought them to the city. With the mission of engaging and connecting "creatives that help define the culture of our city," the tour dove all over the East and West to showcase the color in Austin.
Though their work is no longer on display, here are a few Austinite artists to keep your eye on.
Lea Alvarado started her artistic journey when she was just 5 years old in her hometown of Queretaro, Mexico, where she has since been named a prodigy, moved to Austin at 12 years old. Attacking the socio-political issues facing the 20-year-old's generation, Alvarado has won awards from the YAM State Capitol Exhibit and the Governor's Gallery and says she wants to "portray that there is right and wrong in everything."
Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Lucas Aoki started painting in one of the most beloved styles of the city—mural art—after his 2010 move to Austin. Through his whimsical characters that spark curiosity, Aoki has done projects for ACL Festival, SXSW, Alamo Drafthouse, Microsoft and more over the past eight years.
A native Austinite and Texas State University BFA recipient, Brock Caron is a painter, sculptor and illustrator who works on all types of media.
Focusing on early American life, sights that might be familiar to Hill Country-dwellers, and "small towns untouched by a fast-paced world," Caron spends his free time similarly—with a beer and a bit of cash leftover for the jukebox. Caron is currently a member of the nonprofit arts organization Contracommon in Bee Cave, Texas.
Exploring social impacts of technology, the colors of emotion and light as a representation of the soul, 23-year-old Holly Cerna is a painter that works through color theory. Her depictions of daily life transcend the everyday experience, showing common objects of middle-class life while keeping the magic behind them alive.
Carla J. Clay
Using bright and lively colors to convey the native elements of Texas that inspire her most, El Paso native Carla J. Clay's interpretation of Native American symbols influences her work. With a background in computer engineering, art has always been her first love, and her work can be seen at The People's Gallery in Austin.
Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love
Focusing on the Black past and the Black future, Jackson and Love both have Austin ties as University of Texas alumni. Jackson, who was born in Louisiana, holds her afro-creole roots true in her video, audio and performance art mediums. Jackson teaches Expanded Media at UT and the entry won the 2021 Tito's Prize.
A paper artist who is inspired by nature, culture and literature, Kristen Newcomer loves to read and lives with her sons and husband here in Austin. From the Blanco river flowing south in San Marcos to Lake Travis here in city limits, Newcomer's paper works show her devotion to keeping Austin beautiful. Newcomer does commissions in hopes of strengthening connections to others.
Reflecting the beauty and resilience of his home state, Brian Phillips' treasure is made from another man's trash. Converted from reclaimed wood, Phillips celebrates reassembly, imperfection and rejection reaching a new life just like his motto: "Have fun. Enjoy Life."
Alison Hightower Suttle
Using her expertise as a native Texan, Alison Hightower Suttle captures memories of the Lone Star State in her signature folk style. Highlighting the diversity that lives here, Suttle's overhead view of the city shows vignettes of individuals who share the special days she depicts.
Tom Jean Webb
Born in London in the early '80s, Tom Jean Webb found the romantic landscape he spent his childhood imagining in the American Southwest, leading him to continue his journey between realities. Shown together, Webb's paintings inform each other and create a unique land unlike our own but not far from it. Webb is now based here in Central Texas.
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Legacy grocery store and deli Avenue B Grocery & Market, 4403 Avenue B, re-opened its hundred-year-old doors this week, serving up sandwiches after two years of a pandemic-induced closure.
Mason, the 10th owner of the location, has been running the shop largely by himself since his family bought the location to save it from closing in the early ‘90s. Mason greeted customers with a smile and a homemade sandwich on Friday while telling them a little bit about the history behind the building.
Mason, who would not let us photograph his face, starts removing the paper that has covered the menus for two years. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“I'm still testing the water, gauging how things are gonna go and slowly bringing things back online,” Mason told Austonia. “I haven't personally been telling people I’m open yet because I wasn’t ready. Only today, as you saw, did I uncover the menu.”
Aside from the groceries and famous sandwiches, the store sells Maine Root sodas, candy, dinnerware, records and miscellaneous knick-knacks. If you ask, Mason will pull down some antiques from the shelves behind the till.
Try Ave. B's R.L.T. (Ross a.k.a avocado, mushrooms, green olives, lettuce and tomato), Mason's take on the classic sandwich. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The store unofficially opened when passerbys saw lights inside on Wednesday but Mason said he never told anyone he was opening, it just sorta happened. Mason didn’t uncover his sandwich menus until Friday.
“It's my social life, you know, that's how I meet people and people come to visit me,” Mason said. “People have been very understanding. I wanted to be more relaxed and social–it used to be so busy.”
First-time Ave. B visitor Rose Bowditch recently moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood from California and told Austonia she had been waiting for the store to open up so she could see what was inside. Mason offered her roast beef samples while he helped her dig for jars.
Rose bought some mason jars and a teacup on her first visit. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
Meanwhile, Brianne Bowland and John Lyman began eating Mason’s sandwiches when Lyman started working nearby. The two said they’ve become big fans since and had been waiting for the reopening.
Bowland and Lyman took in all the sights upon their first time back in the building. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“(Ave. B) is like a go-to for everyone in my company to come for lunch,” Lyman said. “I even have a T-shirt. I've always just loved that it's a really eclectic selection of things on the shelf–and then the sandwiches are really pretty special.”
Mason excepts call-in orders at all times except the busy rush hour at noon, during which he asks for your patience as he’s a one-man band. But patrons are free to stop by from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Monday for a great sandwich, conversation and a beer now that the store is back open.
The largest ticketed motorcycle rally in the U.S. said it will limit its attendance to 2,500 per Bastrop County rules as it forges ahead with plans for its event at Mere's Reserve on the Colorado from June 9-12.
In an April hearing, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape denied the event permit for 3,000 attendees for the annual Republic of Texas (or ROT) Biker Rally.
The event has brought in as many as 35,000 paid customers in the past, with over 200,000 estimated to attend the yearly Friday night street party in downtown Austin, and has hosted iconic artists including Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Jett and more since it began in 1995. This year, the event will move to Bastrop County for the first time from Travis County and include dozens of artists—including Ray Wylie Hubbard—food trucks, vendors and more motorcycle-themed entertainment.
In the hearing, Pape said he denied the request for 3,000 attendees due to limited space and lack of infrastructure at the new venue. Mere's Reserve is located on Farm-to-Market Road 969, a well-used, two-shoulder road off State Highway 71.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook also expressed concerns about the event. According to KXAN, Cook said it's in the organization's "best interest" to monitor attendance, and he's added plans to beef up security ahead of the rally.
“As good as they can so that next year, whenever the judge evaluates their request, if it’s over 2,500, of course, then he will have a baseline to just say, ‘Well, y’all did use what you’re supposed to'... and at that point, they could more likely get a permit over 2,500," Cook told KXAN.
Organizers said they will keep count on site and limit ticket sales to under 2,500. While Cook denied their liquor license request, the decision will ultimately be with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has not issued a license yet.
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