We like to do things differently in Austin, and our LGBTQ scene is no exception. Curran Nault, University of Texas at Austin professor and artistic director of OUTsider Fest, discovered that when he moved here from San Francisco. There’s not really a gayborhood vibe. “It’s different in that there’s a crossover in interests. People flock to what they’re excited about regardless of orientation,” notes Nault.

artists in costume and drag at OUTsider Fest

He also found a unique kind of creative energy in Austin, buoyed by the relatively low cost of living. “People were doing risky weird stuff because they could afford to. I wanted to tap into that.” Armed with an understanding of both the LGBTQ and artistic communities, he and a group of friends hatched OUTsider Fest as a nexus for art, academia and a celebration of the LGBTQ community.

In the past several years, it seems to have accomplished some lofty goals - breaking down barriers between artist groups, fostering some fantastic collaborations and creating something with permanency.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you can follow your artistic dreams in Austin. Find contemporary art at the Jones Center and sculpture at Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Enjoy performances at ZACH Theatre or experimental theaters like The Vortex. Spend a day touring the Blanton Museum of Art’s exhibits or make a quick stop at the Austin Art Garage.

OUTsider Recommends

Photos courtesy of OUTsider Fest.