Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting to Know You, Austin #4 - Umlauf Sculpture Garden & a Disqualification

You can read about the introduction and reasoning behind this here...


This week's popsicle stick was slightly dramatic in the picking: there was an initial pick that got moved to next weekend (hey, the activity is FREE next weekend), the next pick marked the first official disqualification (more at the end) and then we finally got to the pick that happened:

You can find out about the gardens here.

If you look at the map page of the site, you'll see that it is quite literally in the middle of town. On a fairly busy road to get to another major city park. And it's probably one of the quietest places in town. It's beautiful, cooler than other places because it's so shaded and full of water and there are several places to sit and just think and contemplate and be around nature, arty things and beauty.
About 60% of the sculptures are religious - HEAVILY religious - with the longer, more minimalists faces of early 20th century and even medieval icon art.

One of my favorite things about this place is how carefully they thought out the placement of the sculptures in the natural setting. My favorite examples:

And another:

And when talking about the non-religious sculptures, there is an awareness of movement and detail that is awesome and beautiful:

And another:

This one reminds me of my friend Carlos - St. Francis & his little birds:

And all the rest:

Oh, and did I mention that it's free admission throughout the summer (donations are encouraged)? Even better!

However, even though it is quiet and peaceful and beautiful, it is something much more enjoyed with others. It's be a fabulous romantic date night or even proposal place. As well, the sculptures are never changed out - there is a rotating art exhibit (last photo) but those are fairly few and far between so this goes into the "don't need to do it again" jar. For myself solely. I'll gladly take guests there when they visit if they'd like and such, but I don't really NEED to go back.


Finally, the disqualification. The 2nd stick chose was for batting cages. BATTING CAGES. You know the ones: at a "family fun park" of some sort with a putt putt course and maybe some go carts that you can pop tokens in and hit big yellow balls at varying speeds depending on the cage you choose.
APPARENTLY those don't exist in abundance in Austin. As a matter of fact, there's only ONE. It's about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) north in Pflugerville. And you have to pay $8 for the privilege to pay for the batting cages! Usury! Out of the question! I just want to hit balls yo!
The only other options are these ultra competitive baseball camps for the high schoolers and university players to train at. The cages are inside only (no fun!) and they're expensive too! $20 for 30 minutes! And a high pressure environment?!? No thank you!
So, this stick has been disqualified. I'm slightly disappointed in this town today.

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