By Kathy Blackwell | June 16, 2017 | People
The latest from Kathy Blackwell.
From left: Brooklyn Decker, Mela Sarajane Dailey, Maya Payne Smart, myself, Jennifer Ransom Rice, Sandra Adair, Camille Styles, and Annie Burridge at the Austin Way Women of Power event at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden (I love our Austin Way swing from Panacea Collection!).
This spring, we at Austin Way decided to leave our charming (but quiet) office in the area of historic homes-turned-law offices just west of the Capitol and move into the buzzy, electric Industrious office space in the high-energy middle of downtown. The first time I walked off the elevator into the sleek common area, I immediately noticed the large art book prominently displayed on one of the coffee tables. It was titled simply AiWeiwei.
I am always looking for signs, winks from the universe that things are proceeding as they should, and this was a big, voluminous one. I had just learned that The Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy were going to announce soon a two-part outdoor exhibition of large-scale installations by the Chinese phenom, one of the most influential and politically active artists working today
In our debut issue of Austin Way three years ago, we wrote about The Contemporary’s grand plan to elevate the visual-arts scene in this city long in the shadows of Dallas and Houston by bringing in important international artists, showcasing provocative public art, and adding exciting works to Laguna Gloria’s renovated sculpture garden. We’ve also tracked the remarkable progress of the Waller Creek Conservancy, which is transforming the city by developing 38 acres of land from Lady Bird Lake to the UT campus. The Ai Weiwei announcement is a grand achievement for both.
Leading WCC is CEO Peter Mullan, who came to Austin from New York, where he helped to oversee the design and development of the High Line, turning the abandoned elevated rail line into a lush urban park in the sky and one of the city’s top attractions. As I walked the High Line on a recent trip to NYC, I thought about what the Waller area could look like in just a few years. It made me even more excited about this issue’s cover story, which comes from esteemed local arts writer Jeanne Claire van Ryzin. There is no one better to tell this story and put it into perspective for what it means for the city’s future.
Austin Way is undergoing an exciting transformation of its own. In April, our company, GreenGale Publishing, was acquired by Modern Luxury, making it the largest luxury lifestyle publisher in the country. With the purchase, the company now has an impressive 84 titles in 24 markets, allowing it to offer more local content relevant to your lifestyle. Beginning with our next issue, you’ll start to notice some changes in design and format, but we will continue to showcase and cover the best of the city. I’ve long been a fan of Modern Luxury’s other Texas titles and consider this another fortunate wink from the universe.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN PORTER