Creek Show 2021
Call for Ideas

Our Creek Show Call for Ideas is now closed.


Creek Show
November 12 – 21, 2021

Waterloo Greenway’s annual Creek Show returns this fall for ten nights of free light-based, site-specific art installations along Waller Creek. This year’s show will delight and inspire the community at the newly renovated Waterloo Park, the first phase of the Waterloo Greenway park system to open later this year. In preparation for the event, Waterloo Greenway is seeking light-based art installation ideas from local artists, landscape architects, and designers. The deadline to submit is midnight on Monday, March 29, 2021. Submissions will be reviewed and selected by a committee of local leaders from the design and art community.

Artist teams who submitted in 2020 are encouraged to resubmit their ideas for consideration this year.

Concept Brief

Creek Show is a design competition that seeks to support and celebrate outstanding local artists and designers 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 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 Waterloo Greenway.
  • Highlight talent of Austin-based designers.
  • Activate Waterloo Park for 10 nights by commissioning innovative, temporary installations and providing free programming for the entire community to enjoy.

Site Information

For the first time in Creek Show history, we are hosting the 10-night event at Waterloo Park. The soon-to-be-open urban greenspace is located between 12th and 15th Streets along Red River. Unlike some of the narrow areas of Waller Creek that have played host to Creek Show in the past, Waterloo Park is ADA-accessible and large enough for the community to enjoy the event while adhering to local safety guidelines. Filled with dozens of unique spaces to bring art installations to life and a variety of vantage points for our community to view them, Creek Show at Waterloo Park will mark a new chapter for our signature event and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it!

Creek Show will NOT be on creek level this year, the installations will be scattered across the parkland at Waterloo Park. Due to environmental constraints, only projection-based installations will be considered on Waller Creek.

Click the button below to browse through photos of approved installation locations.

Submissions should include a preferred site but placement is not guaranteed as all selected installations must be considered and curated as a comprehensive exhibition.

About Waterloo Park

The revitalized 11-acre Waterloo Park will be both a central hub of activity and a catch-your-breath haven for every Austinite. More than 1.5 miles of tree-lined hike-and-bike trails will guide you through stunning Hill Country gardens filled with native plants and wildflowers and on to lush wetland terraces flourishing within a radiantly restored Waller Creek. You’ll be able to stroll across an elevated skywalk, picnic by imaginative playscapes, or lie down and laugh awhile in the expansive Great Lawn that rolls up to the world-class Moody Amphitheater. The experiences in Waterloo Greenway’s largest meetup point will be as limitless as your imagination.

Please note that Waterloo Park is currently under construction and not accessible to the public. If you have any questions about a potential location for your installation, please email us!

Selected design teams will be provided a comprehensive tour of the park this spring.

Design Considerations & Requirements

All installations must be:

  • Original
  • Site-specific
  • Inspired by some specific aspect of Waller Creek + trees/landscape + Waterloo Greenway
  • 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; staking into the ground and/or 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 75,000 people walk through the event and will “interact” with anything in arms’ length.

Other Considerations

Unlike past years, power at Waterloo Park is no longer a limitation. There are plenty of spaces at Waterloo Park with convenient access to power for your installations.

This is not purely a design challenge, it is a design AND BUILD challenge. While teams certainly 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.

Creek Show 2021 Selection Committee

Ingrid Spencer, Executive Director, AIA Austin
Chris Mattsson, Waterloo Greenway Board Member
Nkiru Gelles, Assoc. AIA
Shea Little, Curator, Big Medium 
Moyo Oyelola, Practicing Artist
Dharmesh Patel, Creek Show Alum

Selection Criteria

The most successful concepts will:

  • Tell a compelling story about Waller Creek, Waterloo Park, 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 29, 2021.

Your submission must include the following:

  • Team/Company 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 the Austin, Texas or surrounding local areas. 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 are required to be in Austin for the duration of Creek Show and available to be onsite daily, as needed, 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!


March 8 – Call for Ideas Opens
March 29 – Call for Ideas Closes at midnight
May – Finalists Notified, Artist Orientation & Concepts Presentations, Creek Show Site Tour
June, July – Team Meetings with City of Austin Staff, Refined concepts due
August, September, October – Monthly planning meetings
November 12 – 21 – Creek Show 2021
November 23 – De-installation


Waterloo Greenway awards each selected design team $20,000 ($5,000 honorarium + $15,000 labor & material) to design, fabricate, install, and provide maintenance to the selected installation. 

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 Donald Miller at

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!