Austin Parks Foundation Profiles Friends of Patterson Park

The Austin Parks Foundation is featuring Friends of Patterson Park on their website this month. The post is part of a series called “People Plus Parks ” highlighting the volunteers behind the work  APF does in Austin’s parks. The December profile by Elizabeth McGuire  starts “Some might consider Patterson Park the untamed cousin to nearby, master-planned Mueller Park, but fans of the lush green space off Airport Blvd. wouldn’t have it any other way.” Read more here!

People + Parks: Building Community and Cheer
by Elizabeth McGuire


Jennifer Potter-Miller. Photo by Elizabeth McGuire.

Jennifer Potter-Miller, Friends of Patterson Park. Photo by Elizabeth McGuire.




Charles Heppner and Efficiency. By Jennifer Potter-Miller.

Artist Charles Heppner on the Patterson Burr Oaks

Charles Heppner lives two blocks from Patterson Park, and created “Efficiency” using photographs of the burr oaks at the park. He is participating in the East Austin Studio Tour, which is happening this weekend, Nov. 19-20. Visit him at studio #82 at 3903 Cherrywood Rd. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. By Jennifer Potter-Miller.

What was your interest in working with the trees at Patterson Park?

Trees in general are a thing of beauty that need to be revered, so I work with trees that are in my everyday life. I am at Patterson Park all the time with my kids, and got to know the trees, and recognize aspects of their beauty that I wanted to highlight.

The Prayer Rugs body of work are composite photographs using trees as the basis. Each work is a tessellation of a photographic tile created from photographing trees. In this case, the Burr Oak’s living in Patterson Park. These trees have an extraordinary movement in their limbs that is reminiscent of something called a Peano Space Filling Curve.

It’s not the same by any means, but I like how the burr oak spiral into the sky and this triggered that connection for me. As the tree limbs grow, they make almost right angles as they split off and fill in the sky.

The title of this work is Efficiency. You know, every tree has its own way of maximizing its ability to gain sunlight given its environment, depending on its leaves, where it is in the canopy of trees, etc. This one has a great overt way of showing how effectively it’s doing it because it’s breaking out into the sky.

If you look at the piece, you can see how there are dominant lines that break it off into little sections. And if you look at the individual sections, you’ll see how they begin to be filled up. That’s because of the movement of the tree going upward and inward, as I said before. That was the effect I wanted to highlight.

In this particular case, I exaggerated the effect by layering more than one image of the burr oak. That was an effect I wanted to be really seen, and it’s seen with impunity in this piece.

Could you tell me how the “Prayer Rug” pieces are created?

They are actually photographic prints. I use a printing company in New York to print them. I send them a digital file and they use a machine that exposes color photographic paper by employing a laser. Then they are mounted sandwiched between Plexiglass and plastic substrate called Sintra to create a really clean floating look off the wall. I think it highlights to beauty of the piece onto itself. There’s no frame to mess with what’s going on. I love how it’s a photograph that’s on the wall that becomes part of and is separated from the wall at the same time.


Charles Heppner is a multidisciplinary artist living in Austin.  He was born in Chicago into a large Catholic family where individualism was allowed unfettered.  He has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.  He has worked in finance and is a devoted parent of three children.  His current body of work concerns spirituality and the human relationship to nature.  Charles has shown his work in numerous galleries both in Chicago and New York.  His work is in many private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

“Efficiency,” by Charles Heppner

Patterson Park Community Work Day Planned, May 14

By Mark Smolen

Join the Patterson Park Community Garden task force for a work day on Saturday, May 14 to map out the grid lines for the garden plots and set temporary posts marking the garden perimeter.

Under the auspices of Sustainable Food Center, the task force has just signed a license agreement with the City of Austin so that we can move forward with our construction of the garden. The work will proceed in phases, and the next step is to have the irrigation work for our water supply completed by the end of May. That will be followed by fence and gate work in June. This outlook is dependent on completing our negotiations with irrigation and fence contractors and, of course, on the weather. For updates and to RSVP, visit the Facebook event page.

There are still a few of our 66 plots available for anyone who might be interested in gardening with us. For more details, please contact Mark Smolen.

Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Patterson park

By Jennifer Potter-Miller

Families filled Patterson Park to celebrate Cinco de Mayo last week, and close to 150 people enjoyed a huge potluck dinner, games and music. Friends of Patterson Park partnered with Maplewood Elementary School to host the party during Screen Free Week, and welcomed the community to the celebration.

Many thanks to the parents who brought tamales, salads, all manner of taco fixings, and Mexican cookies and pan dulce galore, and to the school’s Dual Language Parent Teacher Committee for organizing a wonderfully goofy piñata relay race, crafts and freeze dance.

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2016 Easter Egg Hunt at the Park Brings Surrounding Neighborhoods Together

By Jennifer Potter-Miller

It was an unforgettable morning at Patterson Park for the 2nd Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt! We had 150 people come out, 1000+ eggs, dozens upon dozens of cascarónes, two prize baskets, and all kinds of brunch foods for a potluck.

A huge THANK YOU to

* Servant Church for the eggs, donation of chicks to Heifer International, prize basket, bottomless coffee, and their endless good will

* Patterson Park Families for even more eggs, stuffing and hiding 1000 of them, and their boundless energy for community events at our neighborhood park.

I love that all the neighborhoods surrounding Patterson Park can come together there, and that we could easily share the space with two congregations, a soccer team, and several family gatherings.

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Photo credit: Jennifer Potter-Miller. Lots more on Flickr!

Friends of Patterson Park Fundraises During Amplify Austin

Friends of Patterson Park participated in Amplify Austin for the first time last week, and raised $1,361 through the Austin Parks Foundation. Amplify Austin is an annual community-wide day of online giving, and raised $8.5 million for 611 nonprofit organization on March 8-9, 2016. Thirty five individuals made gifts to FoPP, and these will be matched at 25% by the Austin Parks Foundation. We are enormously grateful for the support of both our neighbors and friends and of APF, and look forward to continuing to care for and improve the park!

Amplify Friends of Patterson Park!

#AmplifyATX starts on March 8 at 6pm! Friends of Patterson Park has created a fundraising page for through the Austin Parks Foundation, which has agreed to match 25% of the funds we raise! Please donate a few dollars or more to help us meet our goal of $1000 so that FoPP can continue to care for and improve our neighborhood park!

Patterson Park is where five neighborhoods come together to play, exercise, and celebrate with family and friends. It brings together Cherrywood, Wilshire Wood/Delwood 1, Schieffer-Willowbrook, Delwood 2 and Mueller, and attracts visitors from all over East Austin for birthday parties, pickup soccer and basketball games, family celebrations, games of frisbee and fetch, and a variety of community events.

Friends of Patterson Park (FoPP) has been working to beautify and improve our park since 2002. Some of our initiatives include the planting of dozens of trees over several different plantings; playground improvements; the creation of and improvements to a perimeter trail; regular mulching of trees; painting of picnic tables; installation of pool house mosaic, skateboard halfpipe, shade over the baby pool, Purple Martin nesting site; and the design and initiation of a community garden with a grant from Austin Parks Foundation.

Please contribute to the care and improvement of our park so that we can guide it into its next phase as a neighborhood and regional recreational hub!

Amplify Austin Day is an annual community-wide day of online giving. It starts March 8, 2016 at 6pm and lasts for 24 hours. There are 600+ local nonprofits participating, and this year’s goal is $9M.

2016 It's My Park Day Kid Crew @ Patterson Park. Photo by J. Potter-Miller.

It’s My Park Day Kid Crew Takes Patterson by Storm

The It’s My Park Day Kid Crew met at Patterson on Saturday, March 5, and the morning exceeded all expectations! There were at least 18 families, a Boy Scout troop, a Maplewood teacher with 8 students, and a group of Cherrywood students from Lamar. Experienced Kid  Crew leader Sharon Yarborough was a pro at organizing everyone, and we all took a turn at picking up trash and mulching. The littlest ones worked on washing the playground. Thank you to all the wonderful neighbors who came out to care for our neighborhood park and show our youngest neighbors how to build community!

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Photos credit: J. Potter-Miller. Lots more on Flickr.