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(Left to right) Elizabeth Avellan, Lawrence Wright, Marcia Ball, Stephen Harrigan

Capital Area Statues, Inc., is a non-profit corporation founded in 1992 for the purpose of celebrating the history and culture of Texas through public sculpture. We believe that cities are made great, at least in part, by the monuments they choose to express their identity. Often it is the function of a monument to lend a sense of dignity or humor—in any case, humanity—to a particular space, to somehow marry the genius of the culture with the spirit of the place. In New York's Central Park, for instance, there is a delightful seated figure of Hans Christian Andersen reading from his Fairy Tales. There is almost always a child or two nestled in his lap. The American Academy of Sciences in Washington is graced by one of the great modern statues, Robert Berks's study of Einstein moodily staring into a pool of stars. These figures honor not only the persons they represent but also the profound qualities we associate with them—in these cases, the love we have for children and our awe at the wonder of creation.

CAST was begun by a small group of Austin citizens who felt that our city was deserving of such cultural lodestones. We believe that great statues are a binding force that can help draw the citizens of Austin into a shared understanding of our city's past and the promise of its future.

Our statues are gifts to the city. We raise money independently, through the generosity of individual donors and foundations. We have no employees or fixed expenses. None of our board members receive any form of compensation or remuneration.

 

CAST BOARD MEMBERS

ELIZABETH AVELLÁN was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where her grandfather, Gonzalo Veloz, was a pioneer in the commercial television industry. At the age of 13, she moved with her family to Houston, where she later attended Rice University. She co-founded Los Hooligans Productions with husband, Robert Rodriguez. Their first feature film, El Mariachi, won the Audience Award at the 1993 Sundance Festival. Among the many films Avellán has produced or co-produced are Desperado (1995), From Dusk Til Dawn (1996), The Faculty (1998), Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003).

MARCIA BALL was born in Orange, Texas, and raised in Vinton, Louisiana. A fourth-generation musician, she was passing through Austin, Texas, when her car broke down. She stayed on to become a founding member of our city’s music scene. In 1989 she was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame and has been awarded Austin’s Best Keyboard and Best Female Vocalist honors many times. She recently received five W.C. Handy nominations, the most ever received by any individual recording artist, and won Best Album honors. The Marcia Ball Band travels coast to coast and internationally. Her albums include Soulful Dress, Hot Tamale Baby, and, most recently, Presumed Innocent.

AMON BURTON is an attorney in Austin, Texas, and an Adjunct Professor for 25 years at the University of Texas School of Law teaching legal ethics, the law governing lawyers, and negotiation. He also serves as a Fellow of the Trice Professorship in the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin. He currently works as a consultant to law firms on professional ethics issues and serves as an expert witness in lawyer liability cases. He is the co-author of a book of case studies, Ethical Dilemmas in the Practice of Law: Case Studies and Problems (Thomson/West), and is a 2016 DCI Fellow at Stanford University.

STEPHEN HARRIGAN is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling novel The Gates of the Alamo and, most recently, Challenger Park. He is a former senior editor of Texas Monthly and has written for a wide number of magazines, including Esquire, Life, The Atlantic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine and Slate. His work as a screenwriter includes many films for television, among them The Last of His Tribe (HBO), Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (CBS) and The Colt (Hallmark), for which he was nominated for Writers Guild Award and the Humanitas Prize. He is currently underway on a novel and is working with Robert Altman on a feature adaptation of the documentary Hands on a Hard Body.

VINCENT SALAS is president of Salas Public Relations. He is a seasoned, international award-winning communication professional with a strategic understanding of news media, consumer trends, employee communication, and crisis management, philanthropy, advertising, and public policy campaigns. As the head of a virtual agency, Vincent and his pool of professional partners support local, state, and national clients with brand development, communication strategy development and execution, logo and web design, media relations and executive counsel. He serves clients in the areas of public education, arts, women’s health, software development and more. As a native Texan, Vincent holds onto all the bragging rights thereof. He is married to the former Bridget Molloy of Florida, and is the father of four children.

BILL WITTLIFF is best known for his work as a screenwriter for television and film. Among his many credits are Lonesome Dove (1989) which received 18 Emmy nominations and many other awards; The Cowboy Way and Legends of the Fall (1994); and The Perfect Storm (2000). Bill was born in Taft, a small town in south Texas, in 1940. In 1964, shortly after graduating from the University of Texas, Wittliff, with his wife Sally, founded a book publishing company, The Encino Press, which specialized in regional material about Texas and the Southwest. To date, Encino has won over 100 awards for quality of design and content. The press operated out of a 19th-century Victorian house in Austin in which O. Henry once lived and wrote. An accomplished photographer, Wittliff's photographs documenting the life of the Mexican vaquero (taken 1969-71) have been exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions. In Japan, they represented the United States during its bicentennial year. After twenty years, the exhibit is still shown as a traveling display in the U.S. and Mexico under the auspices of the Institute of Texan Cultures. In 1985, with the donation of their lifelong collection of original manuscripts and books, Bill and Sally founded the Southwestern Writers Collection at Southwest Texas State University. Since that time the collection has grown rapidly, supported by donors from all over the country. In 1996 the Wittliffs endowed the Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography.

LAWRENCE WRIGHT has been a staff writer for Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, and, since 1992, The New Yorker, for whom he won the National Magazine Award for reporting in 1994. As a screenwriter, he co-wrote the movie The Siege (1998) and wrote Noriega: God’s Favorite (2000). He is the author of six books, most recently the highly acclaimed bestseller, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9/11, which was published by Knopf in 2006 and nominated for the National Book Award.