Skip to main content

Click to see how the Austin Convention Center is responding to COVID-19

Black History Month: Four African American artists in Austin Convention Center collection

February 10, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Convention Center Department is commemorating Black History Month by recognizing the inspiring contributions of four African American artists, Eric Lee, Regi Thomas, Jack White and John Yancey. All four artists have Austin community ties and are unique exhibits in the collection of visual art at the Austin Convention Center.

“We understand the emphasis that art has on our visitors, staff and the energy it brings to our facilities,” said Trisha Tatro, Austin Convention Center Department, Interim Director. “Our art aims to motivate and invigorate, leaving a positive and creative experience and showcases the unique emotions associated with Austin and our community.”

The visual arts collection at the Austin Convention Center Department encompasses 33 exhibits and installations, by 30 different artists that are designed into the building, parking garages, and in the Palmer Events Center.

“The works of these four artists give insight to the quality of our entire collection,” said Carla Nickerson, Austin Convention Center Department, Program Manager, Community Services and art program facilitator. “The building doubles as an art venue which gives us the chance to showcase the region’s most accomplished artists and show off the diversity, talent, and makeup of the Austin area.”

More about the artist and their work at the Austin Convention Center:

• ERIC LEE (Spring Thyme and Full Circle)

The two works from Eric Lee are made from resin-coated acrylic on glass. Spring Thyme is 36 x 48-inches and is located on the first floor South pre-function area. Full Circle, 40 x 48-inches, is located on the third-floor West near the Trinity walkway. Both were installed in 2016 and reflect his core concept of blending and transitioning from one color, form and materials. Lee’s works also promote his world view that things work between people of various groups, differing genders, religions, national origins, sexual preferences and colors, lies in the ability to see the beauty inherent in each. Lee, a former Austin resident now residing in Colorado, has a significant list of private clients and collections across the United States and overseas.

• REGI THOMAS (Floating in the Water)

Floating in the Water, by Regi Thomas, is 72 x 26-inches of glass, wire, aluminum and fiber optics. Her art was installed in 2017 and is located on the first floor Cesar Chavez side elevator near Palazzo. Thomas’ original hand-blown and shaped glass art pieces are arranged in a unique grouping to incorporate fiber optic lights. It emulates the feel of flowing and cascading water with natural and human-made debris traveling on the surface.

Thomas, who lives and works in Austin, has other acclaimed works around the world and her client lists include the Texas State Capitol, the Office of the Texas Governor, Austin Chamber of Commerce, The Black Arts Alliance, Steven Spielberg, the Four Seasons Hotel, Human Rights Commission and Dell Computers. She has shared her studio with hundreds of fellow artists, shaping Austin’s art culture and serving as an East Austin hub for events.

• JACK WHITE (Neo-Totem #8)

Located on the third floor west Trinity hallway is Jack White’s Neo-Totem #8. Assembled from copper, wood, nails and acrylic paint, the 10 x 48-inch piece is part of his “Totem” series that combines the Greek column image with the Giryama posts of southeast Kenya.

White’s work was installed in 2010. He describes himself as an Abstract Impressionist who is committed to African heritage, with paintings, prints, and sculptures exhibited in venues including numerous colleges and university exhibition spaces and locally at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Arts. A resident of Austin, White previously taught at Syracuse University and is known for his contributions to art education.

• JOHN YANCEY (Riffs and Rhythms)

In 1996, the first mural installed and created for the Austin Convention Center was Riffs and Rhythms, by Austin artist John Yancey. The large broken ceramic-tile mosaic abstract depicts the traditions of Texas music that includes rhythm and blues, Tex-Mex, cajun, conjunto, country and western, and zydeco.

Yancey’s artwork is located on the first floor in the Southwest hallway near Trinity Street and Cesar Chavez in the Austin Convention Center and is a part of the Art in Public Places (AIPP). AIPP is a program of the Cultural Arts Division in the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Yancey is known for his community-based themed work with art that continues to be exhibited in galleries and museums, throughout Austin and the state. He is also a professor of studio art, painting, and drawing and an associate dean in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. He lectures extensively on various aspects of African American art history.

Some art exhibits are part of the AIPP program, with several iconic pieces commissioned as part of the capital improvement budget for the original construction of the Austin Convention Center and subsequent additions. In addition to AIPP, the Austin Convention Center Department began acquiring additional works by regionally accomplished artists and can be found in various spots throughout the facility.

The wide range of mediums in the Austin Convention Center collection includes acrylic, aluminum, canvases, copper, digital photography, dye-cuts, framed art prints, glass, murals, oil, limestone, salvaged and recycled materials, screenprints, tile, and zinc-plated steel.

For more information about the art collection and artist on display, at the Austin Convention Center Department, go to www.austinconventioncenter.com/visual-art-collection/

About the Austin Convention Center

Now GBAC-STAR accredited, the Austin Convention Center is LEED® Gold-certified and is located in the heart of downtown. The Austin Convention Center Department comprises 301 full-time staff positions and is an enterprise department for the City of Austin. Over 10 million people have attended 6,000+ events, including over 900 conventions, at the convention center since it opened in 1992.

About the Palmer Events Center

Nearly 4 million people have attended 1,200-plus events since The Palmer Events Center opened. The venue, with an adjacent 4-story, 1,200-space parking garage is LEED® Gold-certified.

For more information contact:

Derick Hackett, Senior Public Information Specialist 512.404.4021 or derick.hackett@austintexas.gov

Terri McBride, Public Information and Marketing Manager 512.404.4020 or terri.mcbride@austintexas.gov