The property owner, Vic Ayad, originally planned to build condos on the site, but a lack of funds prompted him to hold off on any developments. Artist Andi Cheatham then approached Ayad with an idea: an outdoor art installation. Ayad agreed, sponsoring the gallery, and Cheatham’s HOPE Campaign brought on a couple of artist friends to promote positive messages through art on the site.
Ayad and Cheatham agreed that the project would only be temporary – maybe lasting six months – but the popularity of the gallery quickly changed that to several years.
The issues now associated with the gallery make it difficult to maintain, and many residents complain about its current location. The site isn’t equipped to hold the number of visitors that attend the park daily, which ties into issues of parking as well, making parking a nearly impossible and expensive task. The site is also extremely costly to keep up; despite volunteers helping to clean up litter, the site needs more maintenance. Ayad pays large amounts of money in property taxes, and the financial burden is only increasing. The gallery hopes to create a space – complete with restrooms – that’s a bit more organized and planned out.
Thus, a relocation seems necessary. There’s currently a public feedback survey in place to gather relocation ideas. There are also questions regarding whether or not the gallery should be an official City of Austin park. They also want to know how the paint park has impacted you – all feedback will be taken into consideration for the future of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery.