Ganador grackle now rules the roost at Austin City Hall - Digging

January 19, 2020

One of my favorite local artists, Christy Stallop, branched out last year from her lucha libre grackle paintings to make a monster-sized grackle in a Mexican wrestler mask using recycled bike tires over a steel frame covered in polystyrene. Her idea won a TEMPO grant, and Ganador (it means winner in English) was selected to reside for a time at the Manchaca Road Branch Library, where I photographed him last September. And now he’s flown over to a much bigger stage at Austin City Hall as part of its People’s Gallery. This bird’s a winner all right!

Yesterday we walked around Lady Bird Lake, starting on the boardwalk trail and crossing the lake on the 1st Street Bridge, where we stopped at city hall to say hello again to Ganador.

He is in fine feather and seems pleased with his prime perch on the plaza overlooking the lake.

His bike tire feathers gleam like the high rises towering around him.

His feet and talons still remind me of the velociraptors’ in Jurassic Park.

While we sat on the steps to rest, we watched tourists, joggers with baby strollers, bicyclists, and locals like ourselves taking photos of this cheeky bird. We even saw one guy testing the bounciness of the tail and then depositing a pair of white sneakers there. Was he coming back for them later, we wondered?

Ganador is a quirky, humorous representative of our city. Fly on by and say hello, Austin. While you’re there you can also check out Kempelen’s Owls a block away near Central Library.

I welcome yo

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