The Waller Creek Conservancy’s Creek Show invites architects, landscape architects, artists, and designers to submit ideas for light-based, site-specific installations along Waller Creek. Six of the submitted ideas will be selected by a committee of local leaders from the design and art community, to then be constructed by the selected teams. Creek Show 2019 will continue to delight and inspire the community by activating Waller Creek, between 9th St and 12th St, in the heart of downtown Austin. The completed installations will be open to the public for 12 nights in November of 2019. Please visit to learn more about the transformation of Waller Creek.

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This competition seeks to support and celebrate outstanding design while sparking conversation about the future transformation of Waller Creek into a series of urban parks and trails. Celebrating its sixth year, Creek Show brings light-based installations that will inspire, delight, and engage the public, along Waller Creek. Creek Show will continue to highlight the potential of innovative, temporary, small-scale installations to bring attention to the Conservancy’s mission. Designers from a variety of disciplines are encouraged to submit ideas, as each year’s mix of talent will include architects, landscape architects, and visual artists. This is not solely a design exercise. Teams must demonstrate that they can complete the installation from conception to realization.


  • Engage the public through architecture, landscape architecture, art, and design.
  • Raise awareness of the work and mission of the Waller Creek Conservancy.
  • Highlight the talent of Austin-based designers.
  • Bring a section of Waller Creek to life for 12 nights, supporting the role of innovative temporary installations to have a positive cultural impact on the community.


Waller Creek in the downtown area is truly different from one block to the next. Some sections are channelized while others are in a more natural state; both the vegetation and the built environment varies as you walk the length of the creek. Creek Show 2019 challenges artists by focusing on the section of Waller Creek, between 9th St and 12th St (stopping at the footbridge across Waller Creek south of 12th street), an area that includes open trails along the Creek, pedestrian tunnels, and Symphony Square. Submissions should include a preferred site but placement is not guaranteed as all six selected installations must be considered and curated as a comprehensive exhibition. Please note, a variety of programs and the Creek Show Lounge will be hosted inside of Symphony Square and the amphitheater. This part of the site should only be included as part of a proposal if the design is conducive to accommodating or enhancing frequent public programs.

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  1. All installations must be original, site-specific, and take some aspect of the creek as their point of inspiration. Power in the creek is limited. We welcome innovative use of materials and light. Design teams are encouraged to think about this from the outset of their design process.
  2. The installations are subject to outdoor weather, including but not limited to wind and rain, and must be designed to sustain the elements.
  3. The level of the creek can rise rapidly during a rain event. All installations must be able to respond to this challenging condition. Finalists will consult with City of Austin staff to create a rain plan; this does not need to be completed at the time of submission but should be taken into consideration early on.
  4. Drilling into or otherwise disrupting the creek bed is prohibited.


While this is a call for ideas, particular attention will be given to concepts that show an understanding of construction and site constraints. Successful projects will indicate a knowledge of fabrication possibilities, as well as a knowledge of material assemblies. Of particular interest will be high-spectacle concepts that propose using common materials in uncommon ways, minimizing waste and environmental impact.


All submissions will be considered by a selection committee who will evaluate the ideas based on their individual merit as well as how they work together with other proposed ideas to create a comprehensive exhibition. Select ideas may be asked to provide additional information or details before a final determination is reached.


Submissions will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Please upload the following items as ONE 8.5" x 11" .pdf document in the order listed below (Statement of Intent, Team Listing and Biographies, and Visuals). The document must also include your team name and the proposed title of the work.

  1. Statement of Intent: Describe the inspiration for this piece and what story it tells about Waller Creek. Explain the project and describe the installation’s form, material, structural, and interactive features. Articulate the design’s relationship to the site. Identify potential site(s) based on the three-block area of Waller Creek where the event will occur. Identify how light will be used.
  2. Team Listing & Biographies: Individuals, collaborations, and organizations are all welcome. Provide a brief biography of each team member, including academic background, professional affiliations, recent projects, and any other relevant info.
  3. Visuals: Include up to five images such as renderings, drawings, diagrams, or any visual image that visually shows the project.. PDF-formatted visuals must fit an 8.5” x 11” template.


  • The Call for Ideas is open to anyone based in Austin, TX. Collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged to apply.
  • Teams are only allowed one design submission per year. No individual may be on more than one team per year.
  • Design leads may not participate in Creek Show in consecutive years. Individuals and organizations who have participated in a support role such as fabrication may be part of a team in consecutive years but the individual, firm or group that created the concept must wait at least one year before entering a new submission.
  • Student teams are encouraged to apply, and the possibility of a specific student installation may be part of Creek Show. The competition brief may be suitable for adoption as part of coursework by architecture, landscape architecture, design, or art instructors.
  • Design teams must be in Austin for the duration of Creek Show and available to attend events such as opening night and the annual artist talk.


Meredith Bossin, Director of Engagement, Waller Creek Conservancy

Louis Grachos, Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin

Chris Mattsson, Waller Creek Conservancy Board / The Contemporary Austin Board

Carla Nickerson, Visual Artist, Vocalist, & Actor / Community Engagement Specialist for Austin Convention Center Department

Ingrid Spencer, Artistic Director of Creek Show / Executive Director of AIA Austin

Daniel Woodroffe, Creek Show 2017 Alumni / President and Founder of dwg.

Herlinda Zamora, Executive Director of The Mexican American Cultural Center


  • April – Finalists notified
  • May – Artist Welcome & Concepts Presentations, Creek Show Site Tours
  • June – Team Meetings with City of Austin Staff, Refined concepts due
  • Aug, Sept, Oct – Monthly planning meetings
  • Nov 6-17 – Creek Show 2019
  • Nov 18 – De-installation


$20K total per installation = $5K honorarium + up to $15K labor & materials


If you have any questions, please contact Donald Miller at 512-541-3520 ext 108 or

The submissions have closed.