Apr 30, 2024 - News

New trail art encourages conversation

A photo of the conversation stones in the grass.

A new art installation from Diego Miró-Rivera along the hike-and-bike trail. Photo: Courtesy of Diego Miró-Rivera

A new art installation made from 32 large alluvial stones on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail encourages strangers to connect with one another.

Driving the news: "Conversation Stones" from native Austinite Diego Miró-Rivera is part of TEMPO, a program by The Trail Conservancy and the Economic Development Department's Art in Public Places Program.

  • Miró-Rivera and seven other local artists were selected to create short-term or time-based artworks at various locations along the hike-and-bike trail.
  • Each artist is receiving $25,000 to design, fabricate and install their artwork.

Zoom in: Miró-Rivera, a sculptor and land artist, created "Conversation Stones" to invite trail goers to step away from technology and communicate in person.

  • Placing yourself on a stone is meant to signal that you are open to having a conversation.
A photo of art installation with the skyline in the background.
Photo: Courtesy of Diego Miró-Rivera

What they're saying: Miró-Rivera was inspired by Barton Springs' Philosophers Rock, where naturalist Roy Bedichek, historian Walter Prescott Webb and folklorist J. Frank Dobie would sit and talk for hours.

  • "That felt very true to what I love about Austin — that merging of nature and conversation," Miró-Rivera told Axios.
  • He created long paths in the grass, which run parallel to the river, and "extend the social space to let people enjoy the journey of arriving to a conversation or not."
  • "It's also oriented east to west so it catches the last rays of sunshine," Miró-Rivera added.

📍 If you go: Find Conversation Stones on the lawn of International Shores — on the southeast side of the trail.


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