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Nancy Mims at the Ney

Striking floral panels by local artist Nancy Mims hung from trees on the grounds of the Elisabet Ney Museum during Valentine’s Day weekend. The installation of Nancy Mims: The Passed Looms Present marks the first time the Ney has participated in the Print Austin celebration of the city’s print art community, according to Museum Director Oliver Franklin.

Weaving - Susan Marshall

The panels are among thousands of flowers photographed by Mims with her cell phone during regular walks through the Hyde Park neighborhood.   Her goal was to capture blooms throughout the year at their brief “moment of perfection.” Using standard cellphone applications, she infused each photo with a dramatic dark background. A textile designer, Mims began sending the photos to her fabric printer “on a whim,” with instructions to make them bigger. She hung the resulting panels on a wall, but they felt stagnant. She decided to move her work outside.

weaving - Lorre Weidlich

Mims explained, “for years I’ve wandered by the Ney and had visions of my art in the trees.” She views the trees as her gallery walls and the wind as her collaborator, creating motion that brings the panels to life. As part of the installation, two large looms were constructed between trees and participants were invited to help reconstruct two of her photographs on a larger scale from fabric strips. Both weavings are on temporary exhibit on the Ney grounds north of Waller Creek, according to Oliver Franklin, who expressed enthusiasm for future outdoor art installations at our neighborhood museum.

By Susan Marshall

I. Jay Aarons – Im Memoriam

“Whoever enjoys his life is doing the Creator’s will” _ Jewish proverb

On January 18, 2016, Hyde Park lost…well, how do you describe I. Jay Aarons? Hyde Park’s ambassador to the world, the neighborhood’s best citizen and most ubiquitous presence, our dearest friend, the sweetest guy you ever met? All that and more.

If you weren’t friends with I. Jay, it’s because you hadn’t met him. I Jay was ubiquitous, and friendship with I. Jay had no beginning and no end. It didn’t begin with a bang; suddenly you just noticed he was in your life and you had known him forever, like family. He was the glue that bonded you to a million people, to a community, a real community, the one outside your door, the one that is Hyde Park, and Austin.

I. Jay gave of himself like few people ever do. He was thoroughly involved in his community as a leader, but never as a politician, though he had a gift for getting along with everyone. As a community leader, I. Jay served on the Steering Committee of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association for as long as anyone can remember, and his towering presence and big smile were familiar fixtures at the annual Hyde Park Homes Tour. His faith was important to him, and he was long a part of Congregation Beth Israel, where he served as treasurer and board member. He also served as a board member of Shalom Austin/Jewish Federation.

I. Jay exemplified all that is best in people, and what we think of as best in Hyde Park: involvement in the lives of the people around you, giving of your time and energy, caring deeply, never uttering a cross or negative word about another being. He loved simple pleasures: word games, crossword puzzles, card games, where he was renowned for the complete inability to maintain anything resembling a poker face. I. Jay grabbed every opportunity he got to participate in theatre in college at Rice and here in Austin at Zach Scott, and there was nothing that he loved more than singing and dancing. If you saw I. Jay dance, then you saw I. Jay in his element. And, by the way, you saw a fabulous dancer.

More than anything, I. Jay loved his family. His newest role in life, being a grandfather, was his favorite, and to see him doting on his granddaughter, Emily, was to see a man in full. When Emily was present, I. Jay would be smiling. Emily sparked I. Jay to the last day of his life.

Just a week before he died and in a great deal of pain, I. Jay insisted on attending the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association meeting in order to present the 2016 budget. He got a standing ovation. Many of us couldn’t believe that he would want to do that, in his condition, knowing that his time was limited. Many people’s bucket list consists of climbing mountains and sailing the seas. I. Jay’s bucket list was all about contributing to the community he loved and being with the family and friends he loved. In this, the things that matter, he may have been the richest man in the world, and we were very lucky to have him in our lives.

“Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince…”

By Michael Crockett

Carol Wyche – In Memoriam

Long-time Hyde Park resident Carol Jean Olson Wyche died on January 21, 2016, at her Avenue F home, after a two-year battle with breast cancer.

Carol lived a rich and multi-faceted life. She was born in 1945 in Omaha, Nebraska. She attended Rice University, where she majored in German, and then spent two years in the Marines before coming to Austin to major in linguistics at the University of Texas.

She was a consummate teacher. Her belief that there was always more than one way to learn something attracted students to her. She worked for the Austin State Hospital for five years as a special education teacher, home schooled her sister’s two children, and taught English as a second language for several non-profit and for-profit organizations. She concluded her official teaching career at Huntington-Surrey School, a private day high school, where she taught German. At Huntington-Surrey School, her ability to mentor difficult students won her respect and admiration from her peers. Along the way, she acquired certifications for teaching Yoga and teaching the Usui system of Natural Healing.

Many knew Carol as a fiber artist, a member of both the Knitters and Crocheters Guild of Central Texas and the Weavers and Spinners Guild. She published her patterns through her own company, Firewheel Designs. She was a regular at Pioneer Farms, where she dressed in pioneer costume and displayed for tourists such traditional crafts as spinning wool into yarn, and she was the spinning instructor at a fiber arts studio in Wimberley.

Her facility with language and linguistics was another thing for which she was known. Nobody could beat her at Boggle; she not only knew more words than anyone else, she knew their derivations as well. Her friends note in awe that she filled in crossword puzzles in ink.

Carol and her husband George moved into their Hyde Park home on Avenue F in 1972. According to George, “We knew from the beginning we were blest with an ideal home in Hyde Park.” Their son Geoffrey, born a year later, grew up in Hyde Park and attended the Austin Montessori School on Duval. The Wyche household was known for its parties, particularly on April Fool’s Day.

Add to all that an unflappable nature and a cheerful disposition, and it’s easy to understand why Carol will be missed by her Hyde Park neighbors.

Presidents’ Letter – March 2016

In Memoriam

Since our last Presidents’ letter, our neighborhood has had to say farewell to two of our best loved neighbors. First, I. Jay Aarons passed away on January 17. I. Jay served many years as HPNA’s treasurer and assisted with numerous other projects, including the Homes Tour. I. Jay was a man of great intelligence and kindness. His calm demeanor led the HPNA through many budget debates. He had a strong work ethic and an unmatched sense of duty. Even though he was seriously ill, I. Jay came to January’s HPNA meeting to present the neighborhood’s current budget. Within two weeks, he passed away. He was a true Texas gentleman. We will miss him.

The neighborhood also said goodbye to Carol Wyche, the beloved wife of George Wyche. She was a great neighbor and a wonderful person. We extend our deepest sympathy to I. Jay and Carol’s families.

PUDs and The Grove

City ordinances that regulate the development of Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) make it easier for developers to get PUDs approved on formerly state-owned land that has never been previously zoned. A $500 million mixed-use development project called “The Grove” is seeking city approval to build on former state land near Shoal Creek and 45th street. The large size of The Grove development has concerned many nearby neighborhoods, including Hyde Park.

Much of the west side of Hyde Park is bordered by land owned by the State and thus unzoned. If this land is ever re-developed, we think Hyde Park should have input in the zoning decisions, to ensure the new development does not negatively impact Hyde Park’s quality of life. Much of Hyde Park’s infrastructure was built in the 1930s, and the neighborhood’s current roads and flooding systems can’t meet the needs of increased development either in Hyde Park or in neighborhoods nearby. It is imperative that we maintain our ability to advocate for the neighborhood and ensure that neighborhood infrastructure can keep up with increased development. HPNA’s Steering Committee recently posted a letter to the neighborhood list serve informing the membership of efforts to convince the City Council to treat approval of PUDs on unzoned and previously zoned property the same. We welcome neighbors’ thoughts on this issue.

While The Grove development will not be contiguous to Hyde Park, it will impact our neighborhood with increased traffic along 38th and 45th streets. HPNA will continue to monitor the development of The Grove and its impact on the neighborhood.

Letter to the Editor – January 29. 2016

I am rather fond of the Hyde Park moonlight tower, and I agree that it is hard to think that it might be a health risk (Letters Dept., Pecan Press, December, 2015, page 9). I strongly recommend a piece called “The end of night” by Rebecca Boyle, first published in the online magazine aeon. She writes that “a young but rapidly growing field of research suggests that night-time light itself is far more dangerous than the dark.”

Hyde Park is already fortunate in having a low level of street lighting, but the number of unshaded lights that burn all night in private houses cancels this benefit. It would I believe be a good thing if the bright illumination of the spire of the Hyde Park Baptist Church were switched off—especially for those who live close by.

Galen Strawson
3900 Ave G.

Pecan Press – March 2016

Pecan Press March 2016

Pecan Press – February 2016


Pecan Press – January 2016

Pecan Press January 2016

Pecan Press – December 2015

Pecan Press December 2015

Pecan Press – November 2015

Pecan Press November 2015

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