Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KUT is partnering with Austin Vida to highlight arts and culture events happening in Austin’s Latino community. Support comes from the Blanton Museum of Art and its new galleries dedicated to Latino art.

To put together the lowrider exhibit, Bullock curator started with the community

People photograph Arturo Dehoyos’ 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, which features a mural of Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernandez, at the "Carros y Cultura" opening reception.
Laura Skelding
/
Texas Standard
People photograph Arturo Dehoyos’ 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, which features a mural of Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernandez, at the "Carros y Cultura" opening reception.

Seven lowrider cars are on display at the Bullock Museum in an exhibit called Carros y Cultura: Lowrider Legacies in Texas. Lowriders are usually classic cars modified with flashy paint jobs and hydraulic suspension that let drivers change their cars' ride height. The modifications aren't meant to make the cars faster; instead, these cars are meant to be driven low and slow.

Kathryn Siefker said she studied lowrider culture before curating the exhibit, but the real education came from spending time in the community.

“Everyone in the lowrider community has been so generous in sharing their time and their knowledge and their expertise and really with trusting us to tell this story,” Siefker said.

She spent some time attending lowrider car meets all over Austin to get to know the community. These gatherings let owners show off their lowriders and share modification tips.

“Just hanging out with the community for the last eight to 10 months was so much fun," Siefker said.

Getting the kids started young

Siefker was surprised by the family element of the community. Many of the lowriders she talked to have modified their kids' strollers and toy cars with the same sparkly paint jobs and engraved chrome accents as their cars.

People look over the "Carros y Cultura" exhibit.
Laura Skelding
/
Texas Standard
The exhibit also showcases bicycles and toy cars given the full lowrider treatment.

“Before you can even walk, you are part of this larger community and family that’s going to see you through,” Siefker said.

In addition to the seven cars, the exhibit showcases bicycles and pedal-powered toy cars given the full lowrider treatment.

Logistical blessings

Siefker said the lowrider community showed up in many ways in the process of creating the exhibit. One lowrider couldn’t get a covered trailer to transport a car to the museum from Dallas. The car, nicknamed “La Mera Mera,” turned up grimy after a rainy drive down.

After a call for help on social media, folks from the Austin community showed up at the museum’s loading dock to get La Mera Mera looking its best before being put on display.

The open hood of a shiny lowrider car is seen.
Laura Skelding
/
Texas Standard
A look under the hood of "La Mera Mera," currently on display at the Bullock Museum until September.

“All these people showed up to help them that they hadn’t met, they didn't know, but were now fast friends because they all believed in this cause and what was happening,” Siefker said. “Even the logistics have turned out to be a blessing in bringing people together.”

The Bullock Museum is celebrating all things lowrider this Sunday, with break dancers and activities to teach about hydraulics and airbrushing. The free event opens at 10 a.m.

Carros y Cultura: Lowrider Legacies in Texas will be on display until September.

Mas Cultura

You can sign up to receive your free Cultura Guide at AustinVida.com.

Juan Garcia is a producer at KUT. Got a tip? You can email him at jgarcia@kut.org.
Related Content