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First Look at Creek Show 2023 — Austin’s Annual Community Celebration of Illuminating Art

Waterloo Greenway hosts light-based art installations along with free concerts and family programming this Nov. 10 - 18

2023 Creek Show rendering: Kaleidoscope Dreams

Each November we look forward to an evening stroll along downtown Austin’s Waller Creek to join the community in viewing light-based art installations curated by Waterloo Greenway at their Creek Show event. Always an awe-inspiring experience featuring a dazzling array of works, Creek Show showcases locally-made illuminated art that is creatively displayed by the water’s edge from 9th Street to Waterloo Park. The event will run nightly to the public from November 11-18, with a special ticketed first-look fundraiser scheduled for November 10.

Creek Show Offers an Exciting Opportunity for Austin-based Artists

In collaboration with AIA Austin, Waterloo Greenway annually commissions site-specific work by Austin-based artists, architects, designers, and landscape architects. Each year, artists explore different themes related to Waller Creek that range from history to hydrology and beyond. A committee comprised of artists, local leaders, and Creek Show enthusiasts gather to evaluate the art submissions. They choose works based on their concept and individual merit, evaluated to create a comprehensive exhibition.

2022 Creek Show Concert (photo by Suzanne Cordiero)

Live Music, Food & More Activities at Creek Show

As in recent years, Creek Show also includes many free activities each night at Waterloo Park. You can look forward to live music, hands-on experiences for kids, and food and beverage offerings.

Tickets are available for the Opening Night Celebration featuring Bidi Bidi Banda & Friends, but there are also several FREE Creek Show Concerts scheduled. The full music and programming lineup is available at creekshow.com.

Priority access to Creek Show is available with a $10 Fast Pass, November 11-18.

Creek Show 2023 Installations

This year, the community can look forward to seeing eight works of art on view at Creek Show.  AIA Austin Executive Director and Creek Show Artistic Director Ingrid Spencer notes, “This year’s show is an exciting artistic representation of Waller Creek ecology, history, and culture. You will want to come see these six installations for yourself this November. They bring together amazing sights, sounds, and an immersive experience for the whole family.”

The following installations and artist teams were selected for 2023:

2023 Creek Show rendering: Babble

BABBLE by Lucas Greco & Reeve Hunter

Artist Statement: BABBLE is a light-hearted contemplation of our changing perceptions of Waller Creek. Together, the sights and sounds of the installation call visitors to break from the bustle of busy lives and experience anew and up close the burbling waterways pulsing calmly through our city.  Three types of corrugated roofing panels, sharing a common form but contrasting in color and character, come together to form illuminated heads of extraordinary size from ordinary construction materials. Speakers are installed among the faces producing muttering sounds of voices and babbling fading in and out while contrasting tones and melodies intermingle in unique ways depending on the viewer’s vantage point. 

2023 Creek Show rendering: THE CREEK KEEPER

THE CREEK KEEPER by Jake Rosenberg, Clayton Lillard, Mateo Gutierrez, Chris Haddad, Chandler Goen, and Liza Fishbone 

Artist Statement:  Once upon a time, THE CREEK KEEPER emerged from the depths of Waller Creek to protect its folklore and remind us of the vital connection between environment and culture. A towering snapping turtle-like monster made from recycled materials, the installation invites us to explore the creek’s unique identity and inspires us to take action in preserving our natural world. Join us on a journey of discovery and conservation, as we honor the stories of the past and light up the future of our planet. 

2023 Creek Show rendering: CRESCENDO

CRESCENDO by Alex Martin & Max Hoffman 

Artist Statement: CRESCENDO represents the heartbeat of Austin and the Red River District — music. The installation at Symphony Square is an array of re-purposed sheet music stands with color changing panels of light. Stop by for a song or two to enjoy an orchestrated light show!

2023 Creek Show rendering: INTO THE WILD

INTO THE WILD by Nolan Stone & Ryan Blair

Artist Statement: In a rapidly urbanizing world, our few remaining wild places exist in the form of urban creeks and greenbelts. INTO THE WILD is a plea for wilder cities that highlights the life that still exists within. The flora and fauna that reside in these spaces have existed here long before humans and the resilient remainders were required to adapt to human development. Once the daylight wanes and the moonlight illuminates the water, the creek comes alive reminding us of what once was and what could be.

2023 Creek Show rendering: MELTING MIRRORS

MELTING MIRRORS by Topher Sipes & Jasna Boudard 

Artist Statement: MELTING MIRRORS is a multi-layered video installation, featuring digitally manipulated slow-motion video of the flow and movement of the water surface of Waller Creek. The installation features multiple parallel screens of translucent fabric as staggered surfaces for the video content, allowing the projected light to pass through each layer to the next and simulating slices of a holographic cone for viewers as they pass by. This 3-dimensional experience facilitates viewing depth above and beneath the creek’s surface through the interplay of water with light. 

2023 Creek Show rendering: RIOT

RIOT by Maria Berrios & JuanRaymon Rubio 

Artist Statement: RIOT is a memorial installation that showcases the Battle of Waller Creek and offers a reflection on the destruction of Austin’s natural landscape. The design gives viewers insight into the history of the protest and also considers the aftermath of a notable political and environmental fight.

2023 Creek Show rendering: Kaleidoscope Dreams

KALEIDOSCOPE DREAMS by Ruben Esquivel, Heath Speakman & Kat Talley

Artist Statement: Kaleidoscope Dreams is an exploration of light and form, where UV-reactive archways create a dazzling display of illuminated diamonds, prisms, and colors. As you enter the installation, a cluster of glowing triangles extrudes from the wall, beckoning you to venture within. These luminous forms symbolize transformation and offer passage from one realm to another. They emphasize the profound power of art to transport us to new dimensions of understanding. The installation explores  the interplay of light, form, and imagination, where every visitor becomes an integral part of the narrative.

2023 Creek Show rendering: Puzzle Grass

PUZZLE GRASS by Barna Kantor, Kyle Evans & Brandon Stargrave

Artist Statement: Puzzle Grass (Equisetum) is a genus of plants considered “living fossils” as they predate the dinosaurs, yet examples can still be found today along Waller Creek. The tall plants, also called “horsetail,” resemble miniature bamboo stalks and thrive wherever they are planted. We evoke the nodal anatomy of puzzle grass through an installation of light poles that light up in various temporal waves visualizing the Creek’s flow.” The installation stands in the midline and follows the natural curve of the Creek, both dividing and uniting the two banks.

Learn more at waterloogreenway.org/creek-show.