Art Coordinator and Curator Abigail Rust has been a member of the art curation, management and advising team at Hall Park for just under two years.

Aside from helping to manage the existing collection, she also works with Hall Group founder Craig Hall and his advisers to bring in new pieces that align with the message of the area. For Hall Park, that message is “the spirit of Texas, entrepreneurship and community,” Rust said.

Rust sat down with Community Impact for an interview about her position and the art that is chosen for Hall Park visitors and residents. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What does an art curator do?

A curator typically ... wants to select work that speaks to each other, that fits the final destination [of] where they're going. They want the pieces to have a message as well as be visually appealing just depending on where they’re going. I think the overarching job of a curator is to communicate a streamline message through art.

When did you become interested in art curation?

My [undergraduate] degree is actually in finance, but I’ve always had a strong interest in art and just how it can communicate to everyone and bring people together. I definitely changed course in my younger years, and I was excited to be able to change course and ... begin a career in the arts.

Is there a specific theme guiding the art chosen for Hall Park?

[Hall Group founder and chair] Craig [Hall] created this park ... It was once farmland, and I feel that's ... symbolic of the Texas spirit. ... With the new collection or the new pieces that are coming in, ... I think that the overall hope is that we're reflective of the community that we live in now. So, there's a really wide variety of artists that we're putting into some of the new developments—there's a focus on female artists’ art, artists of color, they range from emerging to established artists, and there really is a focus on diversity and inclusion.

How long does it take to bring in the artwork?

Even before I started, [the curators had] started acquiring pieces for the new projects, I know. It’s been a long process working with all the different teams—the architects, the designers, ... to make sure everything aligned visually, structurally. ... We have a really wonderful mosaic going up at one of our office buildings, and that’s been in progress for ... eight months and ... I don’t know that it will be installed until the spring. It depends on the piece, really. It’s a longer process than one would think.

Why is it important to have art-centric spaces at Hall Park?

It’s always been really important to Craig [Hall] to bring art to public spaces for everyone to enjoy. Art can really help create a community. I feel like it can also really bring kind of a cultural identity to a city, ... and it's just such an incredible gift that he's given here, you know. He could have built more buildings in these spaces where ... the Texas Sculpture Garden is now but ... what he really wanted was to bring something that would really benefit the community.

How involved is Craig Hall in the art selection process?

He is extremely involved—he reviews every single piece, and he, with the curators and advisers, he selects things in tandem with them. It’s a partnership.

Do you have a favorite piece at Hall Park?

I have to say that Janet Echelman is going to be just amazing and just kind of working behind the scenes with engineers. ... It is truly a feat of engineering, I would say, preparing for this sculpture ... to take flight. It is probably my favorite piece, and I definitely have a larger appreciation for it just knowing how much is going into it to make it a reality.

One word for a group of butterflies is a kaleidoscope, Rust said. The sculpture is expected to debut in summer 2024. (Rendering courtesy Kaleidoscope Park Foundation)
One word for a group of butterflies is a kaleidoscope, Rust said. The sculpture is expected to debut in summer 2024. (Rendering courtesy Kaleidoscope Park Foundation)
It’s called Butterfly Rest Stop. ... It's going to go over a section of the park, and the actual material that it's made of is ... a colorful fiber and mesh material, and ... it changes shape and color in response to the wind and in response to the elements around it. It's really this symbol of the interconnectedness of people and nature ... and the butterfly is also this beautiful symbol of transformation and live imagination. I think those are some wonderful things that we're hoping to communicate to people with this amazing piece. I can’t wait for everybody to see this one.