With all the recent hoopla surrounding the redesign and reopening of Waterloo Park, it’s good to see the return of one of the foundational events that helped get the park—and the larger Waller Creek restoration project—where it is today.
In 2013, the Waterloo Conservancy (nee Waller Creek Conservancy) put on its first Waller Creek Show—a display of temporary light installations along the creek, intended to draw attention to its namesake and raise money for the nascent Waterloo Greenway project. From the start, the event enlisted contributions from some of Austin’s most innovative architects, landscape architects, artists, and designers, whose work employs a wide range of materials and approaches in ways that are unfailingly surprising, provocative, witty, and compelling. By 2019, the family-friendly event—a sort of viewing promenade along the creek—was attracting more than 50,000 visitors during its 10-day run.
At some point rebranded simply Creek Show, the event was on hiatus during 2020, for obvious reasons. Now it’s back, with a new location (hint: it’s a park), and looks to be as exuberant and thought-provoking as ever. On Thursday, Waterloo Greenway announced the event’s return, along with a list of the creators chosen to create displays this year and some visual teasers in the form of renderings of each contributor’s vision for the 2021 show.
In addition to the art, which explores creek-related themes including hydrology, history, and more, there will be opportunities to enjoy live music, food vendors, and interactive activities while the show is up.
Creek Show will take place November 12-21 at—wait for it—Waterloo Park this year. Admission, The show is free and open to the public nightly, 6 pm to 10 pm. Visitors are encouraged to follow local, state, and CDC COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
A list of the 2021 Creek Show installations, along with a sample of what to expect from each, is below.
Team: Wevolve Labs
Designers: Nicholas DeBruyne
Statement: "Taking a craft and material based approach informed by a practice of research and making, Bio-nest responds to the biology of plants and animals found at Waller Creek in both form and material. The free-standing sculptures feature a translucent bio-plastic skin make with site-specific organic matter formed over a bent-wood frame. A lighting strategy and soundscape join the figures in conversation with each other, appearing like softly glowing lanterns in the landscape and inviting up-close curiosity. The project is an exploration in sustainable design, provoking conversation on how we can partake in the new circular economy by designing with nature, tradition, and abundant materials."
Designers: Clayton Cain and Ian Randall
Statement: "Waller Creek exemplifies movement. The movement of water, movement of people, the movement of energy. SWAY elicits and exemplifies this movement through wind. In order to achieve this our fixtures will be placed on the structure's existing grid to fill the canopy with motion and light, the weighted light fixtures free to sway in the breeze."
Installation: High Light
Team: Chioco Design, Drophouse Design
Designers: Brooke Burnside, Marigny "Frankie’" Klein, Christian Klein, Irela Casanova, Jamie
Chioco, Christy Taylor, AIA, Matt Satter
Statement: "High Light is an interactive installation utilizing the power of simple forms in repetition. This project repurposes the familiar material of steel pipe to create tripod arrangements that shoot up toward the sky. These tripods are arranged to create a field condition that is both engaging to the onlooker and enticing to those who seek to create a path through them."
Statement: "Big changes gave dwg big ideas for a big installation. Inspired by the many thousands of new plants installed at Waterloo Park, 'si-glo' elevates the century plant to epic proportions to celebrate the new, long-lasting life brought to this green space in the heart of Austin. Poppy, gigantic, glowing and soft to touch, the inflatables will surprise and delight crowds while honoring Waterloo Greenway's mission of enhancing connections between nature, art and culture."
Team: GFF Austin
Team Member Names: Jake Chavez, Maxine Kraft, Sydney Galloso, Zach McLain, Faiza
Statement: "Throughout the decades, downtown Austin's Waller Creek has constantly faced ecological challenges affecting the wildlife that is dependent on it, including the Texas Blind Snake. CREEKture is a metaphor for this Austin native species as it rises from the dampened soil of the creek bed before receding back into the murky depths of the earth, allowing spectators a brief glimpse of this elusive creature. CREEKture serves as the reminder that we are simply visitors of Waller Creek and its wildlife habitat, and that we must respect their home just as how we respect our own."
The Creek Show 2021 Selection Committee is:
● Ingrid Spencer, Executive Director, AIA Austin
● Chris Mattsson, Waterloo Greenway Board Member
● Donald Miller, Programming & Events Manager, Waterloo Greenway
● Nkiru Gelles, Assoc. AIA
● Shea Little, Curator, Big Medium
● Moyo Oyelola, Practicing Artist
● Dharmesh Patel, Creek Show Alum