Willie Nelson Tribute Ramp Under Fire at SXSW Reports DwellStronger

​The east Austin Willie Nelson Tribute Ramp is under fire by more than just the world's hipster that have descended there for SXSW. Archaic city building code threatens to stop this active piece of community art that's been a conversation piece since it arrived almost a month ago.

James Hill, one of the Founders of DwellStronger, says, "This ramp has captivated the community and caused so many conversations - we're really blown away."

Hill, and business partner Matt Presley at Urban Squared Realty, had thrown around the idea of a halfpipe inside of an office, but after returning from a UPW jaunt (Tony Robbins seminar) in Los Angeles, it was suddenly a 'must'.

The Willie Nelson Tribute Ramp was built by original Austinite and international master X-Games ramp craftsman, Cary Jackson. The other half of the project management team consisted of Lou Statman, Texas skate statesman, and World Champion (Entropy team rider) skateboarder.

"As long as everything is done professionally and safely, I'm sure the city will come around and work with this old building and us. We're the fastest growing city in the galaxy and it's a challenge for everyone as we redefine and re-purpose the city in the urban core, especially and crowded place with buildings from many eras." 

Famed Texas guitar slinger and Austinite since 1980, Lance Keltner, says "This ramp here where it's at is the embodiment of what Austin is for a lot of people - a place where being active with community, and being outdoors and then some art or music all coming together - that's what makes an Austin, Texas day. This is that."

Luis Angulo, a Venezuelan, Austin-based artist was chosen to paint the Willie mural. The entire treatment was painted with hand cut stencils and spray paint, a painstaking process that Angulo is becoming known for in street/graffiti art circles.

"The ramp is being offered to the schools and community at no charge for certain times in any way they see fit to use it. We have X-Games and are also getting a the best wave park ever attempted from Inland and we're still playing coy about alternative sports?" Hill asks.

"Skaters, BMX, roller bladders, and anyone else on wheels are criminals if they enter a parking garage, parking lot, or place of business. And the sidewalks in this part of town are in disrepair. We've built the smallest place possible to contain ourselves in." 

"Much like the city of Taylor only miles away and Project Loop that finally opened up skating to a closed off community - we feel the same can happen here," Hill adds.

The idea for the mural came to Hill as he contemplated a favorite album, Highwaymen, with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. "It ramp had to be Texas down to the studs and Skatelite. Once we thought of Willie, there was no going back. He's the Moses of Texas. And we like the visitors. It's been a fascinating way to meet the community. We're asking anyone who tolerates alternative sports, medicine, lifestyles, and ideas to throw in their support to keep this active piece of art on wheels."

PETITION: www.dwellstronger.com/save-willie


Categories: Music, Sports News, Arts and Entertainment

Tags: austin real estate, austin texs, east austin, halfpipe, kris kristofferson, merle haggard, ramp, skateboard, sxsw, sxsw music, waylon jennings, willie nelson

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James Hill
James Hill
Founder - DwellStronger, DwellStronger