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Michael Barnes

Austin: One Ask, One Tell 2

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Well, we’ll try again.

Last week, we launched “Austin: One Ask, One Tell.” In these short video, we ask leading Austinites one question about our city, then invite them to tell viewers about that day’s social event.

I had not, however, worked out a way to save, then share the live streams from Periscope. This very short video chat with GSD&M founder — and President Bill Clinton speechwriter — Roy Spence was recorded at the LBJ Presidential Library during a party saluting the artwork of Brian Washington.

Washington’s story is compelling. A successful lawyer, he pursued art on his own time. An avid researcher as well, he consulted hundreds of books to produce powerful images with charcoal and paint. They record the lives of ordinary African-Americans during the struggle for civil rights.

Spence brought the idea of presenting Washington’s work to the LBJ Library’s Mark Updegrove. During a recent meeting of presidential library directors and foundation heads, a leading archivist urged other such institutions to show Washington’s work.


Al Washington, Sr,, and Al Washington, Jr. at “The Continual Struggle,” an exhibit of artwork of Brian Washington at LBJ Library.

A book is expected, with a forward by Clinton. At the Austin event, Spence introduced the artist’s father, Al Washington, Sr., and his brother, Al Washington, Jr., who spoke warmly about this man who currently is suffering serious medical problems back in his hometown, Cincinnati.