Waller Creek Lights Up

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On most evenings Waller Creek is unlit and generally not trafficked, save for Austin’s homeless population. Even during the day, the sidewalks along the creek are mostly empty.

This wasn’t the case last Thursday, when Waller Creek between 5th and 9th streets played host to Creek Show, a series of curated light installations. Bundled-up spectators came out in spite of the surprisingly cold weather.

As part of an installation designed by Baldridge Architects, vertically placed fluorescent lights atop metal rods ran along the creek, lighting up the path for visitors as they moved from piece to piece. There were five installations in total, and each illuminated Waller Creek in its own way. Some incorporated natural elements. A fluid set of blue lights splayed across the ceiling of one tunnel reflected off the creek, providing an eerie effect for people passing through. Another used lit tapestries that changed colors and revealed wind patterns blowing across the creek. The art was designed to educate as well as entertain: Visitors walked over text displaying data from the measurements and infrastructure of the creek.

“The two major purposes for the event were to highlight local design work and to engage the public,” says Meredith Bossin, MA, MS ’09, director of the Waller Creek Conservancy. The conservancy is planning to revitalize the creek with a 1.5-mile chain of parks and trails that will connect the UT campus, downtown, and Lady Bird Lake.

Photos by Vineet Gordhandas.


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