Only In Austin: The Baylor Street Art Wall

Driving down Lamar Boulevard near 11th Street, you might notice what many locals call “the foundation,” which is the colorful ruins of an old commercial construction project that never got off the ground. Decades ago, it was the start of condo building that was abruptly abandoned and over the years it became a destination for partying teens and neophyte street artists. As the murals and graffiti accumulated on the foundation walls, the collective project became known as The Baylor Street Art Wall, and it has slowly become an iconic piece of Austin lore.

But what was once a free-for-all is now regulated by the nonprofit HOPE Events. Rechristened as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery in 2011 with the help of famous contemporary artist Shepherd Fairey, the wall is now an educational project, serving as a destination for school field trips, live art projects, and gardening classes, among many other benefits to the community. It’s also a popular spot to take maternity and engagement photos, and to host children’s birthday parties.

Though the days of wandering up the steps to the old foundation to throw a tag up while drinking a six pack of Lone Star with friends are gone, the proprietors of the land and the folks at HOPE are still proponents of local artists. You can receive a paint pass to HOPE Outdoor Gallery with proof of ID, a submitted questionnaire, and a mock-up of your design.

To participate in the mural project, or to learn more, email murals@hopecampaign.org.