“Rhapsody” Mural

1021 East 11th Street, 78702
Commissioned 2003. Artists: John Yancey; Luis Alicea; Steven B. Jones


“Rhapsody” is a 50-foot-long ceramic mosaic mural created in 2003 by University of Texas at Austin studio art professor John Yancey in collaboration with Luis Alicea and Steven B. Jones. The mural commemorates the blues and jazz musical history of East Austin.


Located in Dr. Charles E. Urdy Plaza, “Rhapsody” celebrates the rich Black music scene that once thrived in East Austin. During the era of segregation, African Americans in Austin were only allowed to live in a designated six-square-mile area, now known as Six Square.

Once home to venues like Charlie’s Playhouse and Deluxe Hotel—all part of the “Chitlin’ Circuit” that welcomed Black musicians—East 11th Street played a major role in the Texas jazz and blues scene. The historic Victory Grill was a famous nightclub and safe haven for Black musicians during the segregated 1940s through the early 1960s. The club hosted many famous acts such as Billie Holiday, Etta James, B.B King, and W.C. Clark. It seems only fitting that this mural, located just up the street from the former music venue, pays tribute to East Austin’s musical past.

In 2003, John Yancey, a longtime Austin resident and University of Texas studio art professor, was commissioned to create the mural as part of the “Eleven East” project funded by the Austin Revitalization Authority. Yancey skillfully depicted the community’s history through his use of color and motion in the arrangement of the tiles and the scenes portrayed. The mural portrays soulful musicians and historic structures in perfect harmony, taking the viewer on a journey into the past. The 50-foot-long mural is a work of art that makes you pause in the plaza to appreciate its beauty and historical significance. Afterwards, explore the nearby Texas Music Museum, or duck into the historic Victory Grill. – Jasmin Peisel, Assoc. AIA, NOMA

Photo Credits:

Bud Franck, AIA