Statues become mental landmarks of people, animals, fantastic beings from creative minds…and legends.
Observing a statue can be a zen like or aesthetic experience. Or for those who love to do statue art, it’s a convivial fun fest of reactions and poses for statue photos.
Here are 14 famous statues in Austin you should include on your next public statue pilgrimage:
#1 Lady Hare With Dog
Sophie Ryder’s mythical creatures stand throughout the world. Lady Hare With Dog is near the Zach Theatre and it’s a classic Ryder work. The figure of the hare holding the dog is funny, poignant and compelling.
1510 Toomey Rd
#2 Angelina Eberly
The woman who saved Austin. This bronze commemorates the woman who fired a cannon to stop the transfer of state archives by Republic of Texas President Sam Houston in 1842. Most historians believe Eberly is the primary reason Austin remained the capital of Texas.
North of 6th St on Congress Ave
#3 Diana the Huntress
This 1927 statue, created by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, stands in a quiet courtyard at The University of Texas. It is beautiful by day and comes alive at night. As the story goes, an 18 year old Bette Davis posed for this statue. You be the judge.
Quadrangle between Carothers, Andrews, Blanton and Littlefield dormitories south of Dean Keaton between Whitis Ave and University Ave
#4 Philosophers’ Rock
Santa Fe artist Glenna Goodacre created this statue to commemorate the meeting of writer J. Frank Dobie, historian Walter Prescott Webb and naturalist Roy Bedicheck at Barton Springs. Sit with them and hear their stories.
2201 Barton Springs Rd
#5-7 Odd Bedfellows at UT Tower
Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson and George Washington make an odd grouping of politicians in the capital of Texas. One explanation is that these three are the “holy trinity of world politics.” Jefferson Davis represents the epitome of states’ rights, George Washington symbolizes a strong, national government or federalism, and Woodrow Wilson, who developed the forerunner of the United Nations, is the symbol of the planet’s nations creating a world government.
South of UT Tower near intersection of Whitis Ave and University Ave
#8 The Torch Bearers
This stunning work is located by Flawn Academic Center at UT Austin. Created by Charles Umlauf in 1963, the figures are the embody the passing of knowledge from teacher to student.
Southside of Flawn Academic Center, 2400 Inner Campus Dr
#9 Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue
This figure of the musician who has a Stratocaster guitar named after him is at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake. Vaughan, who played a number of concerts there, is well remembered for his musical talent and influence on future Austin musicians.
800 W Riverside Dr
This piece by Alexander Phimister Proctor is exciting. Children often climb happily on the horses. Located at the Texas Memorial Museum, the inscription (by J. Frank Dobie) reads: “Mustangs. They carried the men who made Texas.”
2400 Trinity St
Known in common parlance as “The Bat,” this unique sculpture is mounted on a concrete base that slowly spins. When the 1.5 million+ Mexican free-tailed bats aren’t spilling from under the Congress Avenue Bridge, this piece is a nice substitute for viewing the world’s largest urban bat colony.
300 S Congress Ave
#12 Barbara Jordan
Artist Bruce Wolfe captured this civil rights activist’s personality, down to the way she held her spectacles. This is a must on your Austin public statue pilgrimage.
24th St and Whitis Ave
#13 Willie Nelson
This is one of those statues that represents a legend who still walks Austin’s streets. Created by Clete Shields, Willie Nelson’s statue is at the corner of 2nd Street and Lavaca Avenue.
310 Willie Nelson Blvd
#14 Cesar Chavez
This sculpture of the social activist by Pablo Eduardo is gripping. This statue, as well as the Barbara Jordan statue, was largely funded by Austin students.
Southwest of UT Tower near West Mall Office Building
@theAustinot wants to know:
This list is by no means complete or the holy canon of Austin public statues. What are your favorite Austin statues? Feel free to comment!
Love this roundup. But what’s sorely lacking are the names and some detail of the amazing sculptors, excellent artists all. And of course the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.
You’re right, @Jann. There’s so much more that could be said! Hopefully this list will inspire readers to get out into the community and explore for themselves. Regarding the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, we recently published a dedicated piece about it which you can read here: http://austinot.wpengine.com/umlauf-sculpture-garden.
If you photograph Washington’s statue from 2 o’clock (looks like you got him at 8 o’clock) it gives a pretty funny angle on the sword. Especially as the base says that the statue was erected by the DAR.
Great representative collection! I used to work with a woman named Eberly in Wisconsin – this reminded me that I always meant to ask if Angelina was any relation. I discovered many of these sculptures while doing the interactive Austin tour, which I would highly recommend!
Thanks for spotlighting these statues. The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, by the way, was created by sculptor Ralph Helmick.
It’s indoors, but the Barbara Jordan statue at ABIA is impressive. Also, the recumbent soldier, Albert Sidney Johnson at the State Cemetery. And all of the Pompeo Coppini statues on the Capitol grounds.
There are statues, and there are monumental sculptures. Capital Area Statues, Inc. (CAST) is the local non-profit that commissioned Philosopher’s Rock, Angelina Eberly, and Willie — all three were gifts to the city and all three in the top 14. Monumental!