One artist gives away art on the Austin hike and bike trail

On a mild winter afternoon, Austin artist Matthew Charles Stanners places two paintings near the Butler Hike and Bike Trail just east of the Austin Rowing Center.

On the big blocks of limestone, he also hangs a canvas sign, which, in plain, bold lettering reads: “Free Art ATX.”

Then he waits.

Earlier at his apartment in the Bouldin area, Stanners had poised thin streams of black, blue and green paint on the two relatively small — 25 inches by 20 inches — canvases. 

On the trail, he clips a QR code next to his sign. Captured on a digital device, the code leads back his Instagram page, FreeArtATX, which in turn links to his website,, which explains his philosophy of seeing and absorbing art.

This day, hundreds of people run, jog or walk past the free Austin art on the trail around Lady Bird Lake.

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