Austin Yard Arts Tour: Junk or Art?

April 20, 2011 by


Sharon Smith’s yard includes found objects and some collected on her travels. Photo: Jay Janner, American-Statesman.

Last weekend’s second annual Austin Art Yard Tour showcased more than two dozen yards adorned with what some would call art, others might call junk.


Faith Scheynayder’s giant chicken.

The self-guided tour, curated by Scott Stevens and Robert Mace, included some of Austin’s strangest, most unusual, and creative yards created by “yardists.”


Photo: Don Madden.

Mace and his wife created the “Bottle Prairie”, above, asking visiting guests to arrive with bottles in hand.


Doll’s heads, bowling balls, bird cages, bottles, old bike frames, hub caps, toilets and other found paraphernalia of all kinds filled over two dozen yards front and back.


Washing machine on the “up-cycle”: Sharon Smith’s inventive container gardenPhoto: Jay Janner, American-Statesman.


Sharon Smith’s hubcap lined fence. Photo: Jay Janner, American-Statesman.

One yard, which some Austin residents consider a cultural icon and living work of art, is that of Vince Hannemann, whose Cathedral of Junk rises twice as high as his South Austin house.

After an eight-month-long battle with Austin’s Code Compliance department, Hannemann, who began construction in 1988, received a residential permit for his junk structure, but one that came with limitations. The city does not want the cathedral, which is now three stories high and includes an observation deck, to be a tourist attraction drawing crowds to the residential neighborhood. But Hannemann has his fans and followers. A number of Austin residents and UT students rallied in support of the cathedral, holding a “JunkFest” last year and creating the Facebook group, “Save the Cathedral of Junk,” which now has 7849 members hoping that “Keep Austin Weird” will become more than a bumper sticker.

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    I think we all need to have a splash Wit and Wimsey, yard art in our gardens! Love the share Annie

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