With the heat increasing, a trip to the beach can be a great escape. Leaving Austin to enjoy the sights of the shoreline only takes a few hours. And after being inside for the last three months, feeling the sand between your toes and a cool ocean breeze on your face is a welcomed change of scenery.
Recipes are a timeless creation. Once made, they have the power to bring back specific moments in history or forgotten memories. For baker and herbalist Heather Barnes, strawberry cake has the ability to take her back to simpler times.
Strawberry cake was a popular dessert for many southern families throughout the 50s and 60s. People would drop off a cake on their neighbor’s porch or have it ready for outdoor picnics. While many had different steps for creation, the dessert seemed to have the power to bring people together.
Heather recalls hearing how much her grandmother’s town was built on community. Without the distraction of phones interrupting conversations, “locals sat in their backyard, and people would stop by with desserts and food to share.” According to Heather, the town still continues to be that way today. It’s not uncommon for neighbors to show up with an extra pie they made or bring dessert over when someone’s grandchild is visiting. Any reason to share baked goods is acted upon.
Inspiration for a business can come from anywhere. For Andrew Sabola, the details of Gelateria Gemelli started forming while visiting Italy with his best friend. What once started as a random idea during a friend’s trip to Europe that then drifted into a gelato class in Bologna, Italy, has become a storefront on East 6th which will celebrate five years in March.
The name Gemelli was one of the first decisions the friends made when conceptualizing. Since they’re both Geminis, the name seemed like a perfect fit.
After completing a course on how to make gelato the old fashion way, Sabola returned to Austin where he proceeded to mix hundreds of drinks until he mastered flavor pallets and combinations the locals would enjoy. “Texas is not Italy,” Andrew emphasizes. “So the things that work [in Italy] don’t necessarily work here.”
While chefs oftentimes come up with new creations by trying to form a certain flavor, Heather Barnes starts by thinking about what the finished product will look like. With the use of fresh ingredients from local farmers markets and shops, she mixes her artistic background with her love of cooking to create a masterpiece both beautiful and tasteful.
It all started years ago when Heather’s husband gifted her culinary school for her birthday. She immediately knew she had discovered a new found love. Wanting to build upon her knowledge, she enrolled in a raw vegan course which is where she learned how to create inventive plant dishes with coconut and cashews serving as the base for nearly every recipe. She furthered her appreciation for appetite with herbalism school which is where she started learning how to incorporate flowers and herbs into her everyday cooking.
“I [strive] to use more flowers and herbs in my cooking and make herbalism accessible to the average person who doesn’t know all these folk methods,” says Heather. “I want to encourage people to use what’s in their yard, to not spray flowers but to eat them.”
A new mural embracing the diversity of the East Austin community is being created on the east wing of Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy.
The mural is an extension of a larger project that started in 2016 when Blackshear PTA and Blackshear Bridge renamed the children’s garden after long-time principal, Friendly R. Rice. Rice was principal from 1933-1972 and was viewed as a leading progressive educator. He devoted his time to implement innovative ideas such as building the first library with a credentialed librarian at a black school in the southwest and providing hot lunches for kids.
Ryan Runcie, the artist selected for the painting, believes his style will portray the differences the community has seen throughout the years in a way that will allow anyone to see themselves as part of the mural.
“I want a utopian vision for all the students who attend Blackshear Elementary,” says Runcie. “I want any child to see themselves as anyone in the mural.”
While visualization into the mural is one major part of the design, embodying the history is another. The mural includes Principal Rice along with some of the programs he started as well as references to other historic figures in Austin’s African American education history.
“The goal of this mural is [to] embrace the diversity of the current East Austin population while paying homage and thanks to the historically African American community that was the cornerstone of central East Austin over the last 100 years,” Runcie explains.
Celebrating 20 years of helping children, CARY (Council on At Risk Youth) is organizing more events than ever before to continue their mission to empower at-risk youth with the skills to avoid crime and violence.
On March 30, CARYKids joined CARY Youth Advisor, Daniella Catalfumo, to paint a 50-foot long mural. Each student involved played an important role designing and painting the piece of art.
Catalfumo, who is a licensed Art Therapist, has been working with the students to use their artistic expression as a connection therapy. The idea of the mural came about to teach CARY students about community leadership. Above that though, the goal was to give students a sense of pride and reflect the positive change that can happen when individuals are shown kindness.
A 50-foot fence, which was donated by Celeste Villarreal, an active member of CARY’s board of directors, was the canvas where students worked. Although the first attempt at holding the event was rained out, the rescheduled day provided perfect weather for painting and a block party to celebrate.
The students, with help from a few members of CARY, worked together to move their artwork from ideas on a paper to a beautifully designed and colorful fence. Once the mural was completed, the pride the students had for their hard work was visible on their faces and brought joy to everyone who attended. And now, it is sure to bring a spark to those who pass it each day.
William Murray Golf Attire: A dream becoming reality
Sitting in their newly designed space off East 7th Street, Kerry Michaels, co-founder and COO of William Murray Golf Attire, smiles, then laughs, as she reflects on the journey she has been on for the past five years. Never thinking that she would be working for a men’s golf attire company, the journey has been a whirlwind experience for her.
Incubating under theCHIVE, Kerry and her partner, Brandon Barrett, put their job security on the line when they confronted their managers at theCHIVE telling them they would leave the company if their idea for a golf line panned out. Soon after, Murray’s lawyer came in for a meeting and with three little words that changed everything: “Bill says, yes.”
Since that moment in 2015, William Murray Golf Attire has not slowed down. The first polo, which was launched on Bill’s birthday, September 21, was inspired by the Chicago Cubs and called “This is the Year.” Luckily, the Cubs went on to win the World Series just a few weeks after the launch. This provided a perfect opportunity for people to start seeing the new polos as Murray wore them to all the events.
Apparel concepts come mainly from the designers, but the family does request some patterns and provides ideas by sharing stories with the team. Once designs are made, the Murray family gives feedback on what to keep, what to change, and what to eliminate.
“We wanted to be able to tell fun stories and use fun prints that are good conversation starters while still looking classy,” says Kerry. “I just want the guys to look good.”
Being a family who grew up caddying, with all six brothers in the Caddy Hall of Fame, the Murray’s know a thing about golf attire. However, the brand wanted to be more. “We are a golf brand, but because Bill will wear literally anything on the golf course, it gives us so much more freedom to do things [the public] does not anticipate,” Kerry enthuses.
Supported by interaction from the audience, Gary Cooper, video journalist at Univision, shared stories and tips on how to make it in the journalism field to students of Texas State University and Laredo’s Vidal M. Trevino School of Communication and Fine Arts.
Before the session started, Cooper made himself relatable by talking to those who were already seated. Conversation floated between future plans and popular locations on the Square that have stayed the same since Cooper’s days as a Texas State student.
Cooper used a variety of storytelling, inspirational phrases and humor throughout his presentation to keep the audience intrigued and engaged.
“He didn’t come with a set plan of what he was going to say. It was like we were having a conversation,” said Gabriela Lopez, a Texas State freshman who attended the session.
During Cooper’s last year as a Texas State student, one of his friends got him a job at Sprint. After graduating, he realized that he didn’t want to live like an undergraduate student scraping to get by just to chase news and media for a career for five to 10 years. So he decided to work up the corporate ladder of Sprint and make decent money.
After a while, Cooper grew to hate his job selling phones. Although it was good money, he was miserable. This feeling led him to put in his two weeks notice, go out with some friends and never work at Sprint another day.
Cooper started sending emails and trying to find a paid internship dealing with his restored love of chasing news. It was during this time that he was reminded that what he wanted to do was not going to be easy.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s media, or finance, or going to law school, or med school, nothing worth having comes easy,” said Cooper. “You will be faced with people who will tell you no. You’ll be faced with people that tell you are not cut out for this.”
After telling how he made it to his job with Univision, Cooper switched to talking about the importance of having an internship and how to get one. On top of reminding the audience about all the other people searching for the same jobs, Cooper added on his own piece of advice.
“Pester the hell out of whoever is in charge until you get in,” said Cooper.
But the main thing to remember, Cooper said, is to understand that no amount of schooling can teach someone as much as being in a newsroom can.
Another key point Cooper made in his presentation is that it is OK to make mistakes. It is how those mistakes are dealt with that is important. While the public is constantly seeing journalists make mistakes, it does get harder for reporters to be trusted but that should not stop anyone from sharing news.
“As the saying goes, an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie. If it costs you, then it does. But at least you can go to sleep at night,” said Cooper.
As a final statement to the presentation, Cooper shared more advice to the students.
“Work your tail off. Blood, sweat, tears. Get rejected. Get your heart broken. Wake up the next day and fight back,” said Cooper.
For many in the audience, like Angelica Espinoza, a senior at Texas State, hearing reassurance from a Bobcat alum that there is hope after graduation was what they loved about the session.
“He’s a former bobcat and he came back to Texas State to teach to other Bobcats what his career is doing compared to what he was doing in college. The same things that we do too,” said Espinoza.