Where HOPE once lived

Iconic graffiti park at 11th and Baylor streets has been closed to the public since Jan. 2

Lily Dashner and Jacob Kuhlenbeck, Mac photojournalism

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Given the opportunity (and the assignment) to tell a story in 10 photos, many photojournalism students gravitated to a special location in Austin, motivated to use their camera to tell the story of a place. Perhaps no site better typified this type of photo essay than the Hope Outdoor Gallery, the famed Austin graffiti park which closed its Baylor Street location on Jan. 2, very near the end of the fall semester when photojournalism students had to complete a photo essay for their final exam.

I won’t go 10 miles out to do something I can do here.”

— Jose Hernandez

Third-period photojournalism students Lily Dashner and Jacob Kuhlenbeck both went to Castle Hill in an effort to preserve the popular Austin location in photographs before it was no longer there. The graffiti park will live on in a new location, Carson Creek Ranch, next to the Austin airport. The original location, which has housed the gallery since March 2011, will be the site of new homes built by Mid-City Development.

Many of the artists and visitors are upset with the move because the location on 11th and Baylor streets was near the city center and afforded beautiful views of the Austin location.

“The [move] is inconvenient for many Austinites,” one visitor said.

It’s not the place that matters.”

— Robert Lopez

For one visitor, Blake Jones, it’s going to be different. “I think something was lost here,” Jones said.

Not everyone in Castle Hill is upset the graffiti park is going elsewhere.

Some local businesses see the graffiti park’s closure as if a plague has finally been eradicated. One employee said, “The parking’s a mess around here. I’m glad our parking spots are going to be for customers and not [for] visitors [to the park].”

Despite the official closure and eventual relocation, many artists say they will continue to spray paint the original location. “This is the location,” Jose Hernandez said, ”and I won’t go 10 miles out to do something I can do here.”

Other artists are more resigned and said they will support the new venue as a place to continue the HOPE tradition.

”It’s what I do,” Robert Lopez said. “It’s not the place that matters.”

We are pleased to share Lily and Jacob’s photos and captions as a double-feature #TuesdayTop10 this week.

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