Saturday, October 3rd
Six Square and Forklift Danceworks invite you to learn more about Austin’s historic Downs Field through a virtual event and art exhibit. Photographer and visual artist Cindy Elizabeth unveils a new series of photographs that pay tribute to the rich history of Downs Field. Slam poets Allen Small and Scot Free premiere a new poem about the field, and local historian Harrison Eppright shares the history of one of the best baseball players you have never heard of. The event will be followed by a live Q&A discussion with the artist and speakers.
This event is part of Take Me Out to Downs Field, a yearlong series of tailgates and performances that celebrate the legacy and future of this historic place.
Cindy Elizabeth was born and raised in Austin, TX, where she currently resides and makes art. After graduating from Baylor University in 2010, Elizabeth began exploring her desire to create change by documenting the world around her. Working through the mediums of photography, film, and mixed media, she explores the concepts of culture, history, and balance. Elizabeth’s work has been shown at Women and Their Work Gallery, The George Washington Carver Museum, Mexicarte Museum and The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about Cindy’s work at www.cindyelizabeth.com.
Allen Small was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated from the University of Texas. He has performed spoken word poetry in Austin and across the nation, and has competed in many poetry slams. Allen worked at Austin Energy for over 27 years, where he wrote and performed three original poetry pieces in the Forklift Danceworks production of PowerUP. He was then asked to write and perform as a play-by-play announcer in Play Ball on Downs Field in 2014, and is collaborating on this year’s Take Me Out to Downs Field. Allen enjoys watching sports, especially college football and baseball, and attending spoken word poetry events.
Robert Smith aka Scot Free is from Bastrop, Texas and graduated from Huston-Tillotson University in 2019. Robert is a slam poet and a manager with HEB. He first collaborated with Forklift Danceworks as an announcer and slam poet for Play Ball on Downs Field in 2014, and he is once again bringing his smooth rhymes to this year’s project Take Me Out to Downs Field. Robert has competed on several teams at the National Poetry Slam, including the 2010 Neo Soul team that placed 4th in the nation and the 2014 team that placed 2nd in group piece finals. He loves slam poetry and although he is semi-retired, he enjoys performing when the moment presents itself.
Harrison Eppright is a native Austinite and has been in the hospitality industry for 27 years. He is the Manager of Visitor Services and the Tour Ambassador for Visit Austin. Harrison’s work assisting visitors from around the world has nurtured his lifelong curiosity in people and places, and has reinforced Harrison’s belief that we are all citizens of the world. Harrison suggests that all visitors take a tour of the Texas State Capitol as it links Austin’s history AND identity, past, present and future.
Image above by Cindy Elizabeth features Cedric Davis and L-R: Allen “Bam Bam” Hicks, Lawrence “Fireball” Tucker, Lawrence “Ditney” Johnson, Dick “Lefty” O’Neal, Willie “Big Ray” Hale.
Project partners and advisors include the Huston-Tillotson University Baseball Team, Six Square—Austin’s Black Cultural District, Austin History Center African American Community Archives, Austin Parks & Recreation Historic Preservation & Heritage Tourism, Texas Playboys sandlot team, KAZI 88.7 FM, Preservation Austin, and Austin PBS.