The ATX Sign at the Whole Foods | Austin, Texas

The sun was about to go down and the colors looked soooo warm! The ATX sign is standing behind the Whole Foods Lamar.

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE NEW “ATX” SIGN ON FIFTH AND LAMAR

SIGNAGE COMPANY ION ART CRAFTED THE PIECE FOR WHOLE FOODS

Published: February 16, 2017

You might notice something different at the northeast corner of Fifth Street and North Lamar Boulevard. Seemingly overnight a new public art piece has popped up, proudly declaring some hometown pride.

Perched outside of the Whole Foods flagship store is a rainbow-striped sculpture that says “atx” that has replaced the old sign that spelled out “Whole Foods Market” in concrete letters. The piece has already created a stir, appearing in the background of numerous selfies since it went up last Friday night.

The mysterious work was created by a company that has already created so many iconic signs in Austin: Ion Art. You may already be familiar with the 30-year-old company’s work, including the State Theatre blade and the guitar that welcomes festivalgoers at the gates of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Whole Foods reached out to the group, owned by husband-and-wife duo Greg and Sharon Keshishian, to update its sign as Ion had created the original one.

Settling on a design for this new work of art took upwards of six months, and once the international grocery chain gave its stamp of approval, lead designer Chase Meyers and his staff only had two weeks to put it together.

“We had a lot of late nights working until midnight and working all weekend,” Meyers says. “When you have a project like this that everyone is very excited about, especially with a client like Whole Foods, everyone was committed to seeing it through.”

The steel-and-aluminum structure is made for all types of weather and human interactions, so people are encouraged to sit, climb, and stand on the piece to get the perfect shot. And soon Whole Foods plans on dedicating “atx” to the city of Austin and its residents.

“We were ready to replace our signage (sometimes also accompanied by a classic green Whole Foods Market pickup truck) on the corner of Fifth and Lamar and thought, This is such a visible spot for the city of Austin, we should do something that the community can enjoy,” a Whole Foods spokesperson says. “This art piece is dedicated to our hometown. We’re really proud of our Austin roots and we hope people will enjoy the art installation as they pass by the store.”

It seems like this piece of public art is already working its way into the same league as the “I love you so much” graffiti and “You’re my butter half.”

“It’s exceeding our expectations,” Greg Keshishian says. “We saw it pop up on Yelp recommendations for things to do in Austin, and it hasn’t even been up for a week. We are seeing it everywhere, we’re really proud of it.”

It’s located at 525 North Lamar Blvd behind Whole Foods Market.

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Be Ready for the Ride | Austin, Texas

 

I have been here in South Austin for a year or so.  I hadn’t noticed these until two weeks ago when I passed by on 71.  I spotted a cowgirl and a cowboy at the entrance.  I had to stop by and take a close up.  These sculptures are awesome.   They were shaped with wood only, painted over and put with a potato bag skirt on a cowgirl and the belt on the cowboy.  He’s lassoing the cowgirl, I guess.

Check them out at Patsy’s Cafe that is a colorful South Austin honky-tonk that features home-style cooking.  It’s at 5001 E. Ben White Blvd.

 

It’s also having the wooden blacksmith in the front of the restaurant as well.  Just let ya know!

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The Empty Cross | Kerrville, Texas

I went to Kerrville last year for the first time ever after 27 years of living in Austin.  I brought my roommate’s oldest daughter, Alma,  to Kerrville Lions Camp for her parents who were out of state then.  After dropping Alma off , I went back to TX-16 to Fredericksburg, I noticed the big cross over the hill.  I didn’t bother checking it out, going straight home.  Once I was home, I googled it up.

“The Empty Cross” is a seven story Cor-ten steel sculpture by artist/evangelist, Max Greiner, Jr. This stunning sculpture was donated to The Coming King Foundation by Max and Sherry Greiner, and Monte and Beverly Paddleford, owners of Eagle Bronze Foundry in Lander, WY. The Carbon Steel skeleton of the cross was covered with a Cor-ten steel skin. After scouring by sand blasting, a reddish brown patina was released, symbolizing the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This unique contemporary sculpture was installed on top of a 1930’ hill top above IH-10 on July 27, 2010.

I had decided to put on my bucket list before I went ahead to Plano for my aunt Rosemary’s memorial service during the Memorial Day weekend this year.  I also included the Stonehenge II on the list that was not too far from the Empty Cross.

When I was getting close, I spotted the Empty Cross easily.  It was clearly shown on the hill on the right.  It’s a little steep and a very curvy road going to the top.  I took my time observing these things there. I’m not a religious person but I have to admit that the park is pretty big, parking is plenty, the view is amazing and you can write your prayer on the rocks.

From my observation, it was a cross on the layout of the Empty Cross.  Too bad I didn’t have a drone to take a video of this layout but it is pretty cool to recognize that too.

Walking leading to the Empty Cross

Take on I-10 exit 508. Turn north onto Hwy 16/Fredericksburg Rd, then quickly turn left (west) onto Benson Drive. Drive past the car dealership, paralleling the north side of the freeway, then turn right and drive up to the parking area for the cross.

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Devil’s Backbone Overlook | Canyon Lake, Texas

These rolling hills and sweeping valleys dotted with oak and juniper and cactus make for a perfect location for a picnic and picture-taking on Farm Road 32.   Upon this 20-mile-long stretch of road and I knew exactly why it is called ‘The Devil’s Backbone’.  It is a twisting two-lane narrow road that goes up a steep hill, with absolutely beautiful hill country scenery on both sides of the road as you look down.  It had a chain link fence around it. It was hard to see the beauty of the hills. I found something interesting was about all the crosses and other items fixed to the fence.

The view affords one an unobstructed vista of the Blanco River Valley. It’s widely believed that the Backbone is haunted by the souls of ranchers who committed suicide to avoid being tortured by Comanches, and by an entire Confederate army troop that thunders through in the night.The view is to die for, literally, as people take ashes of cremated significant others and toss them off the cliff.

I was glad to stop by to see some interesting stuff that hung on the fence.  Off I go to Kerrville,  these next two stops to see the Empty Cross and Stonehenge II.

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The “Crossroads” Gazebo | San Marcos, Texas

Crossroads Memorial Sculpture (Really a Gazebo!)

San Marcos, Texas has a special relationship with LBJ. Lyndon Baines Johnson moved here to begin his studies in San Marcos in 1927 and received a bachelor of science in history and a permanent high school teaching certificate in 1930. He became the 36th President of the United States in 1963 making Texas State University the only college in Texas to have graduated a U.S. President.

I went looking for the sculpture.  I drove around, not realizing that it was a gazebo in the corner of two streets that I kept missing until I finally parked on the corner on the  South Lyndon Baines Johnson Drive/Hwy 82 and East Martin Luther King Jr Drive .  I got out of my car and looked right at the gazebo.  Ah, it was there all the way right under my nose!  I have to admit that it’s different, creative and beautiful than I saw on the roadside attractions webpage.

After taking office, LBJ pledged support for President Kennedy’s civil rights agenda. Fifty years ago on January 18, 1964, he met with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Oval Office to discuss civil rights strategy.

And on July 2, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just 8 months after taking office. The far-reaching law included provisions to protect the right to vote, guarantee access to public accommodations, and withhold federal funds from programs administered in a discriminatory fashion.

And in August 1965 the continued collaboration between Dr. King and President Johnson resulted in the Voting Rights Act.

The sculpture, by Aaron Hussey, casts a shadow of the two men on the tiny corner plaza as the sun moves across the sky every day. It was unveiled with the title, “Crossroads” on MLK Day 2014.  Hays County donated the land the piece sits on, The Crossroads Committee raised $7,000 for the art and The City of San Marcos $100,000.

 

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Want a Big Slice of Cherry Pie? | Kyle, Texas

Continuing to seek some more weird road attractions from Buda hunting the Dragon,  I found the giant pie on the top of the building before heading out to San Marcos, I thought it was cool to see it.

The giant slice of cherry pie sits on the big plate atop of the building.  I haven’t tried it because I’m not fond of cherries.  I’ve to admit that I haven’t entered inside the dessert store.  If you want to try some pies, there are a very few parking spots in the front of the store.

You can find the Texas Pie Company at 202 West Center Street, Kyle, Texas.

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Roar Your Fire! | Buda, Texas

I started my Memorial Day weekend road trip to pay my last respects to my aunt Rosemary who was shot and killed by her husband on a murder-suicide pact last March.  Not only that, Darin, my cousin and I would be finally reunited.  The last time we saw of each other, we were teenagers then.  It is probably about 30 years that we hung out.   I will attend the memorial service in Plano this Saturday.

Off I go, on this Thursday, roaming on the back roads, staying at the state parks enroute to Plano. So, my favorite of the road trip is to hunt weird road attractions.  The first stop is to find the dragon.  I didn’t realize that it was there under my nose because I had been passing by too many times.  I was surprised when I stopped by to check the dragon, that is not too far from I-35.

There’s a dragon outside the medieval castle facade is on a building containing classic arcade games, including a working Hercules — a 1970s pinball game so large it uses a pool cue ball.

15201 S IH 35
Buda, Texas

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