By: Waterloo Greenway Conservancy
About Waterloo Greenway: Waterloo Greenway Conservancy creates and maintains an extraordinary urban park system and a restored Waller Creek, in partnership with the City of Austin, for the benefit of all.
Tell us about the relationship between Waterloo Greenway and the Moody Foundation.
The relationship between Waterloo Greenway and the Moody Foundation is essential to the success of Waterloo Park, and also represents a model for how our community can develop new public spaces in the future. Our community is growing rapidly and the demands on public spaces are increasingly complex. In order to meet these needs, it is critical to have private partners like the Moody Foundation who can see beyond the traditional role of parks and support multi-dimensional public projects. Waterloo Park will be a natural area for relaxation, a place to gather with friends and family, a native garden, a playground, a community gathering place, a living laboratory, and a world-class performing arts center. Our partnership allows us to create a single space where our community can experience all of these things and much more in the heart of downtown Austin.
What are you using the funds for? Why is that significant?
The gift from the Moody Foundation is being used to fund a significant portion of the construction of Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. This world-class performing arts venue is nestled in the center of the 11-acre park, just a few blocks east of the Texas Capitol. The amphitheater will be the home to a wide range of concerts produced by our partners at Live Nation and C3 Presents as well as free, year-round community programs and festivals produced by Waterloo Greenway. Moody Amphitheater allows us to generate much-needed revenues from ticketed contemporary music performances to support maintenance, operations, and programs at Waterloo Park. So, not only is the gift significant now, but our city will continue to benefit from the Moody Foundation’s support for many years to come.
What inspired this project for the Moody Amphitheater in Waterloo Park?
The inspiration for the project comes from Austin’s history and landscape. As the program for the park developed, we looked to the history of the park for inspiration. Waterloo Park was home to beloved cultural events and concerts such as: Hot Sauce Festival, Ice Cream Festival, FunFunFun Festival, and many more. While festivals and special events are a beloved part of Austin, they also require temporary infrastructure such as bathrooms, stages, tents, and food vendors that can damage park landscapes and limit community use. Taking down the infrastructure and restoring landscapes can take weeks or months, limiting park use and costing a lot of money. This challenge inspired us to design a permanent amphitheater in the park that included all of the necessary infrastructure. The amphitheater will now be able to quickly switch between an open space and a concert venue; lowering cost and limiting park closures.
The design of Moody Amphitheater was inspired by the landscape of Central Texas and, more specifically, of Waterloo Park. The building is made of exposed concrete and buried into a rocky hillside, allowing for occupiable green roofs and plazas with native plantings. The steel canopy above the stage was inspired by the beautiful tree canopy created by Live Oaks in Waterloo Park. The structure mimics the forms of the trees and the dappled shade created by these Central Texas icons. The steel canopy will provide artists and performers with shade and rain protection and create an architectural icon and gathering place for our community.
Who will the amphitheater serve in Austin?
Building an inclusive park that benefits all of Austin means building strong relationships with people and organizations all across the city. Through ongoing community engagement efforts, we’re listening hard to what our increasingly diverse city needs and wants. We want everyone in our community to feel welcome at all of our park spaces along Waterloo Greenway, including Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park.
Waterloo Greenway acknowledges its role in and responsibility for building equity. As a community-based organization, we are committed to intentional policies and practices that further justice and fairness and ensure all communities have meaningful access to all we do within our park including workforce opportunities, programmatic engagement, and community and corporate partnerships.
When is the amphitheater officially opening?
Waterloo Park and Moody Amphitheater officially opened August 14. To commemorate the grand opening, Waterloo Greenway and the City of Austin partnered to present CommUNITY Day, a free, family-friendly festival with dozens of activations and live performances representing cultures from around the world, all in the reimagined 11-acre park.