AN EASTSIDE STORY:
EAST AUSTIN CHURCHES
“East Austin is only East Austin for its history, and churches tell its story.” - Associate Minister Floyd Baker Jr.
An ongoing social documentary project about churches in East Austin and the changing physical and cultural landscapes surrounding them. The project was awarded a grant by the Dallas Museum of Art and some of the images are now a part of the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. The Austin American-Statesman published a full spread feature of select images and the nonprofits SixSquare and Preservation Austin hosted a solo exhibit and community forum for the project.
Undoubtedly, churches are a focal point of East Austin's history. As this area of the city undergoes rapid changes, the traditional role of churches as the center of community life has shifted. Using medium format film, this project in progress documents the smaller African American churches and congregations in neighborhoods throughout East Austin. These churches embody a culture with a vibrant past, a resilient present, and a potentially tenuous future. They contain a rich heritage and perspective that this project hopes to acknowledge and honor.
The churches represent a larger story taking place, one of rapid development and displacement, cultural preservation and a growing city primarily focused on the future. As with most photo projects, there are many intricate layers, both seen and unseen, and my hope is to respectfully document what came before and is today.