The Making of a Creek Monster Habitat


Delena Bradley, Bill Rios Michael Bruner, Khristián Méndez Aguirre, & Karen Maness

Project Description:

The Creek Monster Habitat honors the spirit and life of all creatures of the Creek. Equal parts installation, soundscape, visual spectacle, and community engagement, our Habitat brings together theatrical, outdoor and performative elements. It is a space to meet the shy, bashful spirit Monster, the guardian of the creek. It is also a space to contemplate all of the life (animal, human, plant) that has touched the creek and the life that will follow. Without the leadership, creativity, and dedication of our student team, our success would not have been possible. 

Creek Monster Habitat Class Description:

Driven by student inquiry and collaboration, our Texas Applied Arts class has constructed an immersive Creek Monster Habitat for Waller Creek Conservancy’s 2019 Waller Creek Light Show. Each member of our class has drawn upon their existing competencies and interests to self-organize into teams to determine design solutions, material choices, fabrication schedules, and project milestones. Collaboration has been facilitated by professional staff during scheduled class, labs, as well as online and mobile project management platforms.  Students received direct instruction in traditional fabrication, surface finish, and digital fabrication from faculty, staff, and visiting guest artists. The project moved from a rigorous theoretical experiment to a realized performance-ready element over the course of a semester.  Students were expected to blend traditional methods with digital fabrication to discover individualized problem-solving styles. This experience was devised to build portfolios, resumes, and leadership skills for career paths in design, architecture, live entertainment, film, engineering, and themed attraction.


Creek Monster Habitat Team:

Scenic Design – Delena Bradley
Lighting Design – William Rios
Dramaturg – Khristian Mendez
Previsualization – Michael Bruner
Sound Design – Danielle Vongsamphanh, Derek Haumpy, and Lina Breining

Creek Monster Habitat Fabrication Class:

Eye Team
Emma Craig
Samantha Cole
Christopher M. Foito
Lauren Price

Lighting/Programming Team
William Rios
Adriana Lara
Christopher Michael Clark
Christopher Martin Clark

Structures Team
Phoebe Osbourne
Joseph Matza
Tabitha Tattenbach

Sound Team
Danielle Vongsamphanh
Derek Haumpy
Lina Breining

Leaf/Ground Cloth Team
Aurora Kenyon
Callie Blackstock

Nest Dressing Team
Channing Miller
Elaine McMurray

Creek Monster Habitat Class Faculty/Project Manager: Karen Maness

Creek Monster Habitat TA: Delena Bradley

Creek Monster PR/Social Media Manager: Laura Godinez

Creek Monster Habitat Guest Artists
Rebecca Switzer – Weaver, Texas Performing Arts Prop Master
Chris Levack – Austin Sculptor
Michael Ortiz – Associate Technical Director- Santa Fe Opera
Parker Jennings – Lead Fabricator – Meow Wolf
James Ortiz – Puppet Master-NY Public Theatre
Davin Huston – Integrated Arts – Purdue

Supporting Faculty/Staff
Carolina Perez – Sound Design and Sound System Advisor
Rusty Cloyes – Production Management Advisor
J.E. Johnson – Texas Performing Arts
Kristi Lampi – Green Fund manager for Texas Performing Arts
Leigh Remeny – Purchasing and Guest Artist Payment processing

Hired Student Lighting Crew
Libby Jantz
Noah Tucker
Alex Jereb
Adriana Lara

Course Objectives:

1.    We will deliver high-quality production elements that are:

  • Are on time and under budget
  • Prioritize health and safety of collaborators, performers, and players
  • Serve stakeholder needs

2.    We will assess the availability and appropriateness of tools and materials

  • research various equipment and materials to determine limitations and suitability for a specific application
  • choose the most appropriate tools and materials (physical, digital, and rhetorical) for the job
  • acquire the necessary tools and materials
  • investigate alternate tools and materials when a desired tool or material is not available
  • fabricate necessary tools, reimagine material choices, develop alternate workflows, and/or revise project scope when alternative tools or materials are not available

3.    We will develop a project plan to:

  • identify who the relevant stakeholders are.
  • specify actionable and measurable project goals and requirements.
  • utilize time management and project management tools.
  • outline project milestones, including sequential action items
  • anticipate time for multiple prototype iterations
  • work effectively within project constraints, be they financial, material, spatial, and/or temporal

4.    Assemble effective teams

  • recognize opportunities to collaborate with others who provide diverse experiences and perspectives
  • gauge the costs & benefits of “Doing-it-Yourself” (DIY) or “Doing-it-Together” (DIT)
  • recruit team members with diverse skills appropriate for specific project requirements
  • join a team where one’s skills are sought and valued
  • solicit advice, knowledge and specific skills from experts

The Fabrication:

Initial Concept:

Nest Renderings

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 10.56.38 AM
CreekSite-All Beams
CreekSite-UV Beams

Video Renderings

Creek Eyes
Creek Installation Visualization
Creek With Eyes

More Process and Photos:

Special thanks to:

dwg., Chris Levak, Sarah Conway, Michael Ortiz, Parker Jennings, James Ortiz, Davin Huston, UT Graduate School, Waterloo Greenway, UT Green Fund Grant, Texas Performing Arts, and the UT College of Fine Arts.


CBS Austin:

Daily Texan: