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13 Stops We’ll Be Making on the Austin Studio Tour

For three weekends this November, the city will be overrun with more than 500 art shows and activities

Austin Studio Tour

Austin’s arts scene is vast and varied. Beyond the finished products, it’s a supportive community of entrepreneurial and skillful individuals that host workshops, share inspiration and turn our mundane walls into dazzling works of art. That’s why Big Medium’s 30th annual Austin Studio Tour is such an invaluable resource and a perfect place to discover something new. 

Returning for three weekends over November 4 – 19, over 500 galleries, home studios, museums and more will open their doors to the public for free. The first weekend takes over the west side of I-35 (WEST), before moving to encompass both West and East Austin the following weekend. Then for the final weekend, it’s all about EAST.

First things first: it’s a comprehensive, self-paced tour that gives you the freedom to choose your own adventure … which can be a little overwhelming. The easiest way to navigate the citywide event will be to download the Austin Studio Tour app, which comes with a mobile map and more info on each numbered stop. Also make sure to keep an eye out for separate opening hours and tons of unique pop-up events and activities, which can be found listed by date here.

With hundreds of phenomenal artists and destinations to discover, here are a few favorite stops we’ll be making along the way!

Austin City Guides: Best Museums
Photo by Moyo Oyelola

George Washington Carver Museum

It can be a lot to navigate, but The Carver Museum makes a perfect starting point. They’ll be showcasing the Group Exhibition during the event, which features a piece of work from more than 500 participating artists from the entire event. It’s also the location of the official Launch Party, open to the public on November 1 from 7 – 10 p.m. Tickets to attend are $45, including an open bar, tarot readings, live music, local food options and a first-look at the tour’s exhibiting artists.

Big Medium Presents José Villalobos
Work from “Fuertes Y Firmes” by José Villalobos.

Big Medium

It’s the best time to rediscover Big Medium, which just moved into their brand new gallery space on South Congress. Officially on the west side of the tour this year, they’ll be open for the first two weekends with an incredible slate of artists. Check out the powerful work of José Villalobos, the artist behind the new location’s inaugural exhibit, as well as former and current Tito’s Prize winners Tammie Rubin and Rodell Warner. You’ll also get to know new artists through exhibits like “Houston Artists come to WEST” — curated by Jonathan Paul Jackson and comprised of original photography, paintings and sculptures by Houston-based creatives showing their work in Austin for the very first time.

(photo courtesy of West Chelsea Contemporary)

West Chelsea Contemporary 

You can’t head West without checking out the eye-catching West Chelsea Contemporary gallery. Usually lit up in neon and vibrant hues, they’re welcoming back founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings and acclaimed artist, Cey Adams, for a new solo exhibition. “Combinations” is an accumulation of Adams’ groundbreaking 40+ year career, bringing together graffiti, collage, street art and more. The series will remain on display through November 19.

Valerie Fowler’s “Offering”

1211 Ravine Dr.

There’s nothing like visiting an artist’s place of inspiration, and Valerie Fowler’s exquisitely trippy paintings of nature will be on full display at her very own studio in southwest Austin. A regular face at galleries around town, her depictions of familiar spaces are reimagined with entrancing inverted colors and textures, creating an unsettling feeling of urgency and wonder. 

Austin’s Best Art Galleries
(photo courtesy of Wally Workman Gallery)

Step inside the whimsical world of Malcolm Bucknall, who uses oil, watercolor and ink to turn traditional looking imagery upside down, often introducing unexpected environments or animal characteristics. His work will be featured in the historic, two-story Wally Workman Gallery on the Westside, which adds plenty of its own charm to the experience.

Artwork by B Shawn Cox

Canopy

This complex is filled with a bunch of fascinating studios and galleries, making it easy to knock out multiple stops in one. Among the list of visiting and residing artists, we’ll be checking out the detailed fabric art from Jane Reichle of Ladybird Studio ATX, who creates miniature embroidered versions of western outfits, furniture and portraits. It’s also a great opportunity to see Keith Kreeger’s enviable ceramic goods in-person; view gorgeous travel and street photography at the studios of photographer Sarah Frankie Linder and award-winning filmmaker Bita Ghassemi; take in the varied and acclaimed work of mixed media artists B Shawn Cox, Yasmin Youssef and Denise Fulton; or run through some of the top-notch onsite galleries and trailers including Yard Dog, ICOSA, SAGE Studio, Wyld Gallery and Modern Rocks. (When you’ve had your fill of artwork, pop into delicious Japanese cafe Sa-Ten.)

Mercedez Rex’s signature water marbling.

Big Red Sun Austin

This landscape and garden design studio is welcoming a handful of talented makers we love. While also known for creating building-size murals, Soledad Fernandez-Whitechurch’s abstract paintings are what home décor dreams are made of. Meanwhile, Mercedez Rex is one-of-a-kind with her mesmerizing water marbling prints. Likeness Studio, the photography business by twin sisters Chloe and Meghin Gilstrap, will also be in attendance alongside metalsmith Christine Fail of longtime Austin favorite Fail Jewelry.

Something Cool Studios

J Muzacz’s artwork is woven into the fabric of Austin’s east side, expressing a deep connection to the city’s ever-evolving culture and arts scene. Found at Something Cool Studios, where the creative also hosts educational classes and workshops, you’ll be able to meet the maker and preview his collection of detailed mosaic and mural works. 

The Cathedral (photo by Nicola Gell)

The Cathedral

Known for regularly hosting its own fun gatherings, this creative coworking facility is the full-time home of female and non binary arts collective, atxGALS. Set against the backdrop of a 1930s refurbished church, they’re spotlighting more than 20 artists over the two weekends of EAST, including Cathedral and atxGALS founder Mónica Ceniceros’ captivating paintings over wooden textures. And don’t miss the wonderfully colorful planter people from Karmita Creative, the dreamy nature-inspired landscapes of Kandice Pierce, Mary Rochford’s embroidered and hand dyed color block portraits, the otherworldly collage work of Eryn Brooke and many more.

Louie, the studio’s 11-year-old “watchdog.” (photo courtesy of Cloud Tree Studios)

Shannon Purcell creates stunning painted portraits showcasing the illusion of identity — both how we are seen and see ourselves. He’s also the Assistant Director of Cloud Tree Gallery, which always makes a fantastic stop on any art lover’s journey. Talented jewelers Brian David Johnson of EASTWOOD and Paula Kieko of EMKO Creative will also be onsite with adornments tempting enough to take home. 

Austin Studio Tour
Kyle Hawley (photo by Brittany Dawn Short)

Flatbed Press ft. Letterpress PLAY

A haven for local printmakers, Flatbed Press is collaborating with Kyle Hawley, the paper artist and founder of South Austin’s Letterpress PLAY, for a series of hands-on activities for tour-goers. In honor of her current exhibit, “Unfolding the Rainbow of Motherhood,” she’ll be teaching guests of all ages how to create block printed hankies on November 11 and 12, followed by a Mailable Art class on November 18 and 19. Preview the exhibit and learn a new skill of your own!

JEANS_INTERNAL_002
(photo courtesy of Good Dad)

Good Dad Studios

Good Dad is definitely not your typical cubicle-covered office space. This brand new complex holds more than 80 artist studios throughout its 42,000 sq ft building — the largest in Central Texas — with plans to eventually add three art galleries, a selection of food trucks and an exterior studio for industrial art. On November 11, they’re hosting an official Grand Opening Party, complete with complimentary drinks, music, live mural art hosted by Zuzu and SprATX co-founder BLVD — plus tons of art pop ups. Visitors will also get an early look at the open studios and a group show of work by resident artists, which will remain on display for both weekends of EAST. On November 19, they’ll close it out with a special panel discussion between local creatives on how Austin’s art scene has evolved over the years.

Settle Ceramics (photo by Holly Cowart)

Springdale General

What can we say? We like to be efficient, and this coworking complex houses the studios of some of our favorite makers. From celestial gems by jeweler Shelley Moon of Clover + Maven and the vivid abstract work of painter and muralist Emily Eisenhart, to the striking handmade ceramic designs from Eliana Bernard and Settle Ceramics’ Samantha Heligman, there’s more than enough inspo (and good food!) to be found at Springdale General.

Visit austinstudiotour.org for more info including a detailed view of the artists and event map.