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Cathedral of Junk

4.8 4 votes

4422 Lareina Drive

(512) 299-7413

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Ivan Collins Last updated on Apr 06, 2022 by

The cathedral of junk in south central Austin is one of the city's most unusual spectacles. Part art and part construction, the cathedral is 2-3 stories tall and consists of random pieces of junk linked together with some concrete steps and often heavier junk used to strengthen the support. There are zones of color coordinated areas that add to the artistic element. There are also themes on junk. My favorite is a section I personally titled "Easy Rider" featuring a man riding a motorcycle composed mostly of various motorcycle pieces.  I also felt like I might need a few of those car parts to refurbish my 92 Cadillac and wondered internally if the owner/artist, Vincent, had an eBay gold mine on his hands. You’ll likely find a spot that resonates with your own junk interests as you wind through the corridors taking it all in.
 
Easy Rider


Visiting the Cathedral of Junk
The location is set in a neighborhood South of downtown situated within the grid of South Congress, South 1st Street, Hwy 71 and Stassney. There's an address above and a map below. It’s easy to get to and not so crowded that you have to wait. Because the art is displayed in the owner’s back yard, he avoids set schedules to help minimize traffic to the neighborhood.  There are no fees, but donations are accepted and $5 per person is reasonable. To visit the Cathedral, you must call (512) 299-7413 and verify it is open before showing up. I called on a Tuesday and they were not open, but Vincent answered and suggested trying again on the weekend. I had the in-laws in town and ended up taking my baby boy and father-in-law along for the visit. On a nice Saturday afternoon there were approximately 20 people there around noon and the visit took approximately 30 minutes with sufficient time to inspect the various nooks and crannies in detail.

Vince and the History of the Cathedral of Junk
Inside a shed out front are some photos of the Cathedral’s history and a placard on the wall that convey its history that I thought I’d share here: “The artist Vince Hannemann has been building site specific, mixed media sculptures since the age of 16. After moving to Austin in 1989 he started building sculptures in the yard. By 1992 it was being called Yardspace Eleven.  The artist’s mother first called it the Cathedral of Junk. The junk itself is mostly donated. In 2010 the city found the Cathedral in violation of code requiring an engineer’s letter. After seven months and the help of hundreds of volunteers, three lawyers, an architect and engineer, the permit was granted. As of 2019 the artist considers the Cathedral 99% finished."

The History Placard Text Above


We say thank you to Vince and all the volunteers who saved the Cathedral, reminding us as ever than one person's trash is Austin's treasure.

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