Reflections on a Legacy: East 12th Street

Public City was commissioned to design and develop the E. 12th Street Merchants Association‘s (ETSMA) placemaking and programming efforts through the City of Austin Economic Development Department Souly Austin program. Through community input and coordinated efforts by the ETSMA board, Public City brought together a creative team of archivists, curators, and a music historian to develop a community-based living archive documenting the business and cultural history of the E. 12th Street community. ETSMA, in partnership with Huston-Tillotson University, will facilitate the continuation of the archive and steward its growth and development.

The initial contribution to the E. 12th Street Community Archive is Reflections on a Legacy: East 12th Street, a 17-minute documentary short film curated and produced by Stephanie L. Lang and Rachel E. Winston in partnership with director/curator Funmi Ogunro. The film features three native East Austin residents Volma Overton Jr., Diane Gilmore Lang and Margaret Wright on their experiences living near, and patronizing numerous, historical E. 12th Street businesses, and how those businesses contributed to the larger East Austin narrative.

The film was screened October 6, 2018 as a featured event during ETSMA’s third annual Return and Discover Festival. Following the screening, a panel participated in discussions about E. 12th Street and the film including the curators, artist, and E. 12th St. Merchants Association Representatives. In addition to the screening and panel, the first 50 guests received complimentary “old school chili burgers like at the Harlem Theater” at Sam’s BBQ, a legacy business in the district. A playlist of sounds heard on E. 12th Street since the 1940s was curated by music historian and critic Michael Corcoran and images of the documentary process were framed, exhibited and now included in the archive.

Commissioned Creative Team

Stephanie L. Lang and Rachel E. Winston, Curators of Reflections Documentary

Funmi Ogunro, Director of Photography and Editor of Reflections Documentary

Michael Corcoran, Curator of E. 12th Street Playlist

12th and Chicon Mix on Spotify HERE