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Art brings Austin together

City leaders, followed by those visiting 4th Avenue Fest Wednesday, got the experience of taking part in a unique artistic opportunity with Wow! Mobile Metal Lab.

The Wow! Mobile Metal Lab is the brainchild of artist Sara Hanson, who guided the leaders and public through the creation of the Wishing Tree.

“I like the idea of the community getting together and being creative and having fun,” Hanson said. “The sculpture reflects those experiences.”

In the morning, leaders from various groups and businesses came together to carve sand molds and later, if they wished, to pour pewter, melted down from billets and scraps, into the molds.

Later, at 4th Avenue Fest, the public was able to play their part.

“The public comes by and hand stamp wishes into pewter leaf castings,” Hanson said.

The sculpture will go on tour in Austin before finding its final installation location, which will be determined at a later date.

“It peaks curiosity,” Hanson said. “It can draw interest from many different people that don’t consider themselves artists.”

The metal, Hanson finds, lends itself well to these kinds of projects.

“Metal is a good medium for public art because it lasts,” she said.

Mayor Steve King was one of those that took part in Wednesday morning’s mold carvings. For King, it’s another opportunity for leaders from all areas to serve the public.

“I just think it gives community leaders the option to help out in a capacity — in this case, it’s art,” King said.

The hands-on project is important in another way in that it pulls together the community to work on one project while allowing for the opportunity to express individuality.

“They can strengthen relationships and express individual identities or a collective identity,” Hanson said. “It offers the opportunity for people to share ideas.”