Article by Madeleine Page
The picturesque graffiti park located at Castle Hill in Austin, TX is on the prowl for a new home. The graffiti park, referred to as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, is one of many famous locations in the Austin area. The gallery originally started as a project without the intent of being permanent, but with the vast popularity and recognition it achieved, it ended up a permanent and iconic location. The gallery is open to everybody and artists of all genres and encourages creativity in all forms. The HOPE gallery is consistently changing with new artwork and creativity, all the while drawing in visitors from all over to see the unique walls of the park. Although the park is admired by so many, it has caused issues in the surrounding area due to lack of parking and large amounts of traffic. The issues have expanded and resulted in a survey created to let the people of Austin decide where the park should be relocated.
Video: Benjamin Rauls
The HOPE outdoor gallery, near 10th and Lamar Boulevard just west of House Park in Central Austin, was created in 2006 with assistance from the contemporary artist, Shepard Fairey. According to the official HOPE website, the HOPE campaign, which stands for Helping Other People Everywhere, was started in order to raise awareness for the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The campaign consists of artists, musicians, projects and events. Aside from the outdoor gallery, the HOPE campaign also includes the HOPE Farmer’s Market and live music events to collect donations.
While the official HOPE campaign started in 2006, the outdoor gallery did not launch until March 2011. The outdoor gallery is run under the campaign and is a non-profit organization that thrives on donations and events. The HOPE gallery is distinctive and the only park of its kind in the United States. The gallery not only serves as a creative outlet for artists and visitors, but it also benefits the Austin community. According to the HOPE campaign website, the gallery has helped the community by creating jobs for artists, providing a place for school field trips, is a unique location for films and photos, includes live art projects and many more. Alongside the endless notable aspects of the park, it has also been recognized as one of the top 10 creative locations in Texas.
Austin street artist, Eugene Stetz, said he uses the HOPE Outdoor Gallery as a creative outlet and way to showcase his love for graffiti. “I come here like once a week and sketch out drawings, it’s peaceful,” Stetz said. “After I’m done drawing up the sketches, I will replicate the image on to the wall with spray paint.” Stetz said he plans on continuing his love for graffiti in the future and is excited to keep his artwork growing.
Texas State University junior Taylor Dahl has visited the outdoor gallery a few times because she loves the ever-changing artwork and thinks it’s a great place for people who love photography. Dahl stated that she is intrigued by the park because she is curious as to who can add graffiti. “If I showed up with a can of spray paint, could I just paint whatever I wanted?,” Dahl said.
To clarify Dahl’s questioning thoughts about the park, the HOPE website says that the park is private property, so in order to add artwork, you must register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dahl included that she has always been very artistic, but found her love for photography last year when she received her own Canon Rebel t5 camera. Dahl enjoys taking photos in her spare time, and believes the graffiti park is an excellent location for peculiar artwork. “The park is popular among photographers probably because it has such a wide variety of different art,” Dahl said. “Whatever you’re looking for, the park is guaranteed to have something that will catch your eye.”
Pondering the thought of the possible relocation of the park, Dahl said she believes a new location won’t be as renowned because it’s not the original. “I think a relocation would take away the imaginative view of Austin and make the place less interesting,” Dahl said.
In opposition to Dahl’s thoughts on the relocation, local Austin resident, Connor Masich, thinks a new location could open up more opportunities. “I like the idea of the same concept being applied in a different location, it adds more color and creativity to the city,” Masich said. He said he enjoys going to the outdoor gallery because it’s a good location to take interesting pictures. “Almost everyone I know has a picture in front of the graffiti wall, it’s a given if you’re in Austin,” Masich said.
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery will continue to be a prominent destination, but a new location could make traffic and parking problems decrease. The HOPE gallery team has created an online survey for the people of the city to give their input on relocation of the park. The survey consists of questions asking participants if they support the current location, if they support a new location and where they think the best place is to relocate. Overall, the survey will help the HOPE production team choose a new home for the gallery. To add your input and take the survey, visit
For more information on the HOPE campaign, visit www.hopecampaign.org
Photos by: Rachael Shah
Video story by Jarett Stewart