Public Art and Austin Floods

Public Art and Austin Floods

I recently wrote a little blurb on The People’s Gallery, a project that’s part of the Art in Public Places program by the City of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services department.  I’m a fan of the program, and think these types of City projects and programs help to make our city great!

That’s why I’d like to continue, from time to time, highlighting these little gems of public works in Downtown Austin. Today’s piece, I’m embarrassed to say, just came into my purview, even though I’m an almost daily runner of Lady Bird Lake’s 3 mile loop.

I happened to notice it the other day, and thought I’d share some shots of the work, particularly since they highlight some history of the lake and Austin.  The piece is done by Deborah Mersky and is called High Water Mark.  It’s from 2008:

Extreme flooding has been a recurring fact of life in Austin, before and after the Colorado River was damned.  High Water Mark acknowledges the impact of this history.  The photos used in this artwork (from the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library) were taken within a few blocks of where City Hall stands now.  The original high water mark stone, west of the Buford Fire Tower, provided the impetus for this project.

art-in-public-spaces-lady-bird-lake-plaque

Here are pictures of each of the individual photos used in the piece.  My, how far Lady Bird Lake has come!

The referenced Buford Fire Tower

The referenced Buford Fire Tower, at Cesar Chavez

All these pictures got me inspired to do a little research on Austin’s Flood Plain. Austin is generally thought to be “one of the most flood prone regions in North America.” (which is funny to me anecdotally because it never even rains here). I looked at several addresses on FEMA Flood Plain map (there are still some downtown Austin condos affected!), AND I found these really amazing pictures of some floods from the mid-30s:

Property of Austin History Center

Property of Austin History Center

Property of Austin History Center

Property of Austin History Center

Property of Austin History Center

Property of Austin History Center

About amber gugino

Amber Gugino is an active board member of the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, a board member of The Shore Condos HOA, and a member of the Junior League of Austin. She adores her dog, Blog, and she learns something new about downtown Austin every day.

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