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First look: Waller Creek Show 2019

New designs will line the creek in the fall

Drawing of illuminated house suspended over creek
Light House
Team: Norma + Sunny / Designers: Sunny Schneberger and Norma Yancey, AIA, courtesy of Waller Creek Conservancy

It’s been six years since the Waller Creek Conservancy had the bright (heh) idea to present a light show to draw attention to its namesake creek and raise money for the ambitious project of restoring its habitat and turning it into a linear park. Every year since, the group has chosen some of Austin’s most innovative architects, landscape architects, artists, and designers to create temporary light installations along the creek and invite the public to enjoy them on a sort of promenade. The event is in November and timed perfectly for getting in the mood for holiday light season.

Waller Creek Show designs are hardly in the vein of your typical winter-wonderland display, however. Installations above, below, and in the creek employ a wide range of materials and approaches and are always some combination of surprising, provocative, witty, and compelling (if not all of the above). The family-friendly event now attracts more than 50,000 visitors and will almost surely become even more popular for as long as it keeps happening.

In addition to the art, which explores creek-related themes including hydrology, history, and more, there are also opportunities to enjoy live music, food vendors, and interactive activities while the show is up.

This year the show is along the creek between Ninth and 12th Streets. Attendees can also visit the Creek Show Lounge at Symphony Square to learn more about upcoming developments, including next year’s Waterloo Park reopening.

The free event, open to the public, will take place every night from November 7 through November 17 this year. In addition, there is a ticketed fundraising event that allows a sneak peek at the show on November 6. For the rest of us, renderings recently released by the conservancy will have to do until showtime.

The Ghost Boat
Team: Nelsen Partners / Designers: Lindsay Abati, AIA, Johanna Spencer, AIA, Daniela Valle
Team: 1909B / Designers: Brooks Anderson, Bruno Canales, Mitch Flora, James Holliday, Zach Lyons, Andrew Mitchell, Will Powell, Nolan Thomas
String Theory
Team: Boka Powell / Designers: James Cornetet, Franco Palomo, Miren Urena
m e a n d e r
Team: Frankev / Designers: Frances Peterson and Kevin Sullivan, courtesy of Waller Creek Conservancy
Downstream Upcycle
Team: Design Workshop / Designers: Laura Bryant, Claire Eddleman-Heath, Eric Leshinsky, Kenley Reed