Creek Show 2020

About Creek Show

Since 2014, we’ve commissioned local artists to create site-specific, light-based art installations to help raise awareness about the ongoing transformation of Waller Creek and our new 35-acre urban park system coming to downtown Austin.

Last year was our biggest and brightest Creek Show yet! In addition to seven original art installations, Creek Show delighted over 60,000 people with live music, an assortment of family-friendly activities by Thinkery and MadScience in the H-E-B Family Zone, and even more festivities in the Creek Show backYARD at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol.

In the BBVA Creek Show Lounge, guests had the opportunity to learn more about Waterloo Greenway, check out a model of Waterloo Park (set to open this fall), shop exclusive merch, and snap a photo in the CapMetro Photo Booth!

Special thanks to the teams of local artists, landscape architects, and designers who worked tirelessly to bring Creek Show 2019 to life: 1909BDesign WorkshopNelsen Partners, Norma + Sunny, frankevBoka Powell, and Texas Applied Arts.

Video by Jesus Garcia.

Call For Ideas – CLOSED

We are no longer accepting submissions for Creek Show 2020.


Creek Show
November 12 – 22, 2020

Waterloo Greenway’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 and will then be constructed by the selected teams. Creek Show 2020 will continue to delight and inspire the community by activating Waller Creek, between 9th and 12th Streets, in the heart of downtown Austin. The completed installations will be open to the public from November 12 – 22, 2020. Click here to learn more about the future of Waterloo Greenway.

Concept Brief

This competition seeks to support and celebrate outstanding design while sparking conversation about the transformation of Waterloo Greenway into a series of urban parks, trails, and a restored Waller Creek. Celebrating its seventh 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 Waterloo Greenway’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.

Goals of Creek Show

  • Engage the public through architecture, landscape architecture, art, and design.
  • Raise awareness of the work and mission of the Waterloo Greenway.
  • Highlight talent of Austin-based designers.
  • Activate Waller Creek for 12 nights by commissioning innovative, temporary installations and providing free programming for the entire community to enjoy.


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 challenges artists by focusing on the section of Waller Creek between 9th Street and 12th Street (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 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 its 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.

Not familiar with the site?

Explore the Creek Show site here.

Click here for a map of the Creek Show route from 9th Street to 12th Street along Waller Creek.

Design Considerations


All installations must be:

  • Original
  • Site-specific
  • Inspired by some specific aspect of Waller Creek
  • Designed to sustain the outdoors over the course of the event; this includes wind, rain, and changing creek levels.
  • Temporary – Attachments should be removable and leave no impact; drilling into the creek bed is prohibited.
  • Environmentally friendly – Nontoxic materials; no damage or disruption allowed to the creek and surrounding flora and fauna.
  • Durable – Over 50,000 people walk through the event and will “interact” with anything in arms’ length.

Other Considerations

Power in the creek is limited. Design teams are encouraged to consider this from the outset and create concepts that do not require a large power supply.

This is not purely a design challenge, it is a design-build challenge. While teams do not need a solution for every detail of the installation at the time of submission, particular attention will be given to teams that show an understanding of construction, fabrication, materials, and site constraints.

Selection Process

A selection committee will evaluate the ideas based on their individual merit as well as how they work with other proposed ideas to create a comprehensive exhibition. Some teams may be asked to provide additional information or details before a final determination is reached.

Selection Criteria

The most successful concepts will:

  • Tell a compelling story about Waller Creek and/or Waterloo Greenway
  • Engage attendees
  • Be high-spectacle concepts
  • Use common materials in uncommon ways
  • Employ light as an integral element of the design

Submission Requirements and Instructions

Submissions will be accepted until midnight on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Your submission must include the following:

  • Team Name
  • Title of Proposed Installation
  • Statement of Intent – Describe the inspiration for this piece and what story it tells about Waller Creek. Explain the project, identify how light will be used, and describe the installation’s form, material, structural, and interactive features. Articulate the design’s relationship to the site and, if desired, identify potential site(s).
  • 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.
  • Visuals – Include up to five images such as renderings, drawings, diagrams, or any image that visually conveys the concept.

The above items must be submitted in a single PDF file, sized to 8.5” x 11”. There is no page limit, but teams are encouraged to be as concise as possible.


The Call for Ideas is open to anyone based in Austin, TX. Collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged to apply. Artist teams are only allowed one design submission per year. No individual may be on more than one team per year. Design teams must be in Austin for the duration of Creek Show to perform regular maintenance to the installation and attend events such as opening night and the artist talk.

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. The competition brief may be suitable for adoption as part of coursework by architecture, landscape architecture, design, or art instructors.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Waterloo Greenway acknowledges its role in and responsibility for building equity. As a community-based organization, we are committed to intentional policies and practices that further justice and fairness and ensure all communities have meaningful access to all we do within our park including workforce opportunities, programmatic engagement, and community & corporate partnerships.

We strongly encourage teams to embrace a shared commitment to equity as they build both their teams and submit ideas for Creek Show. Our Call for Ideas is open to all persons regardless of age, color, disability, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. All are welcome at Creek Show — your installations and teams are a huge part of making that happen!


January 27 – Call for Ideas Opens
February 6 – Call for Ideas Information Session – Watch the full session here.
February 10 – Call for Ideas Information Session – Watch the full session here.
March 9 – Call for Ideas Closes at midnight
Late April – Finalists Notified
Early May – Artist Orientation & Concepts Presentations, Creek Show Site Tour
June – Team Meetings with City of Austin Staff, Refined concepts due
August, September, October – Monthly planning meetings
November 12 – 22 – Creek Show 2020
November 23 – De-installation


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

A draft budget is not due with the submission but teams are encouraged to research costs in advance to ensure that the concept can be successfully executed for $15K or less.


If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Bossin at 512-541-3520 ext. 103 or

Creek Show

Since 2014, Waterloo Greenway has commissioned local artists to create site-specific, light-based art installations to help raise awareness about the ongoing transformation of Waller Creek and our new 35-acre urban park system coming to downtown Austin.

Learn more about the artists and installations of past Creek Shows below!







Interested in sponsoring Creek Show 2020?

Please contact

Video by Jesus Garcia.

Thank you to our Creek Show 2019 sponsors!

Creek Show Lounge Sponsor 

Family Zone Sponsor 

Bar Sponsor
Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Stage Sponsor
DPR Construction

Title Sponsors
Applied Materials Foundation, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

Photo Booth and Transportation Sponsor

Installation Sponsors 
Aurora – Tyndall at Robertson Hill
Downstream Upcycle – Trousdale Ventures
The Ghost Boat – The Powell Foundation
Light House – Sugar Creek Foundation
m e a n d e r – 3M Foundation
String Theory – Waterloo Greenway Board of Directors 2019

Gigawatt Sponsors
Clean Scapes, Easy Tiger, Patriot Erectors, Sheraton Austin at the Capitol, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Weinheimer Wealth Management

Megawatt Sponsors
Saint Bernard, Austin Fine Properties

Kilowatt Sponsors
Henna Chevrolet, Austin Outdoor Design

Media Sponsors 
Do512 & Do512 Family