Art in the Parks: 6 Unique Public Art Pieces in Austin’s Parks

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From Blanton Art Museum to the beloved, but newly-housed, Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, there's no denying that Austinites appreciate good art when they see it. But did you know some of the best art is in the parks?

These pieces help us deepen our connection to or understanding of the parks' history, view the parks and amenities in new ways, and offer the artists' perspective on how we can preserve and protect these important public green spaces.

Below are a few of Austin Parks Foundation's favorite murals and other art pieces in Austin's parks. Check out Art in Public Places for a full list, and don't forget to give us suggestions to add at the bottom!

These pictures will not do them justice, so be sure to visit these parks to get the full experience. Remember social distancing best practices when visiting parks to protect our community and keep each other healthy. Don't forget to take a picture and share with us on social media! 🙂


1.  Peace and Harmony Mural

Colony Park District Park

Colony Park District Park is home to the Peace and Harmony Mural by local artist Tyson D. Davis. He partnered with the Colony Park community to gather inspiration for the 30 x 60 foot mural painted on the wall of the Turner Roberts Recreation Center's auxiliary building.

He was inspired by the imagery of doves taking flight as it represents the displacement of communities in East Austin, but also celebrates the strength, empowerment and hope for the community's future. The gorgeous mural is visible from most areas of the park. Check out this video of artist Tyson Davis working on his mural with the help of Overton Elementary students!


2. Hillside Theater Mural

Pan Am Neighborhood Park

Raul Valdez was given a 4000-square foot canvas, and he filled the walls with East Austin history. He does not claim the mural as his own! In 2011, he told Austin American Statesman, “It belongs to the people of East Austin. It’s a representation of what the people who lived there wanted to see.”

Keeping with the spirit of Austin, the hillside theater is an excellent music venue! Pan Am Park has been home to live Mexican and Latin American music for over 60 years. Did you know The Pan Am Summer Hillside Concert Series is the longest running music festival in Austin? It's true!


3. The Grotto Wall

Sparky Pocket Park

This little park is an Austin treasure that lives on the site of the defunct North Austin Electric Substation. Sparky Park is a pocket park nestled in the North University neighborhood that is now home to an award-winning public art piece: The Grotto Wall.

City of Austin Art in Public Places and the North University Neighborhood Association partnered with local artist Berthold Haas.  The Grotto Wall is permanent, so the public art piece he created will be enjoyed and keep Austin weird for generations to come!


4.  A Day in the Park Mural

Shipe Neighborhood Park

The Friends of Shipe Park wanted to create and install a mosaic mural on the pool pump house wall at their park. They applied and received an $8,000 ACL Music Festival Community Grant from Austin Parks Foundation to help make it happen!

Local mosaic Austin artists Pascal Simon and Holli Brown helped bring this community effort to life! Above are two volunteers on It's My Park Day Spring 2016 striking a pose and a portion of the mural. Check it out for yourself!


5. Museum Without Walls

Perry Art Park

Perry Art Park is a community collaboration of neighborhood group Friends of Perry Park, Austin Parks Foundation, The Contemporary Austin, Waterloo Greenway and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. In 2014, Friends of Perry Park received a Community Grant of $22,000 from APF to add two new art installations and improve their tennis courts. We're super proud to be a part of this!

The sculpture park is a part of The Contemporary Austin's Museum Without Walls program which brings high-quality art beyond the walls of a museum. For more information on the art at Perry Park, check out this exhibition page!

Pictured above is Perry Art Park, Austin, Texas, 2017, with (from left) Peter Reginato, Blue Float, 1978; Jim Huntington, Dayton, 1977; and Betty Gold, Alas #IV, 1994. Artwork and image courtesy The Contemporary Austin – Museum Without Walls Program. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.


6. Play Mural

Loewy Murchison Playground

The Play Mural at Murchison Pocket Park carries meaning for residents of Northwest Hills neighborhood, as their kids finally have access to a playground. The new Loewy Murchison Playground is the first to be accessible to the public in many years and is the culmination of over 15 years of hard work by the Northwest Austin Civic Association (NWACA).

Austin Parks Foundation is proud to have been a part of this community-led project by awarding the NWACA a $20,000 ACL Music Festival Grant in 2018 to help complete the project. We love that the mural matches the aesthetic of the playground!

What Art in the Parks should we include in our next round? Tell us about your favorites and a little information about them!