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Iconic Austin: “Night Wings” Bat Sculpture

published on December 9, 2011

Some may consider the bat among their least favorite animals – what with those negative stereotypes perpetuated by vampire movies – but here in Austin we not only embrace our flying mammalian friends, we adore them. With over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats calling themselves Austinites (at least for part of the year), it seems appropriate that we give them the love and respect they deserve. After all, we’re able to brag that we have the largest urban bat colony in America!

The bat was the mascot for Austin’s ice hockey team before it moved, and Austin is home to Bat Conservation International, a non-profit group whose mission is “to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems.”

Besides these nods to our beloved bats, one of Austin’s most famous pieces of public art espouses our love for all things bat at 300 South Congress Avenue at the Barton Springs Traffic Island. Dale Whistler’s Night Wings is an 18 ft tall and 20 ft wide sculpture made of purplish aluminum, mounted on a concrete base that slowly spins, allowing viewers to take in the entire view no matter where they are standing. It’s alive and dynamic, just like the bats it represents. The piece is part of the city’s Art in Public Places program, which helps ensure that Austin’s public art adequately represents the diversity of its residents in a variety of mediums, and was donated to the city by the Downtown Austin Alliance in 1998.

If you’re feeling the need to commune with our city mascots while they’re enjoying the warm breezes of Mexico, check out this artistic interpretation in Central Austin. And if you’re in the market for your own “Bat Cave,” perform an Austin Home Search and let Austin Realtor Brian Talley help you find the perfect home.

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