Austin’s favorite art museum has gotten a refresh, and is inviting the public to come take a look. Beginning Saturday, May 13, visitors can see the museum’s new grounds for themselves at their grand opening celebration.

The festivities will begin at 2 pm on the Moody Patio with Blanton Director Simone Wicha, Gina Chavez, and a "participatory art experience" by the Haas Brothers. The Petersen Brothers, DJ Ella Ella, and Adrian Quesada are scheduled to perform at varying times at the Moody Patio until 8 pm. Pop-up exhibitions, public tours, and live-readings by Texas authors will take place from 3-8 pm inside the museum.

The initiative to reimagine the 200,000 square foot museum campus has been underway since 2020 in partnership with international design firm Snøhetta. The most recognizable change is the construction of the Moody Patio, a space located between the two main museum buildings. 15 petal-shaped structures create a canopy that frames and shades parts of the campus, coming alive at night for unique viewing experience at the museum.

Landscaping improvements include the addition of over 25,000 mostly native Texas plants to the museum grounds. The area's heritage trees, such as their Southern live oaks, will be highlighted by the new landscape design, as well as the museum's garden areas and Faulkner Gateway.

University of Texas at Austin alumni Craig Dykers, John Newman, and Elaine Molinar were the lead architects on the revitalization plans. In a press release, Dykers explained how the new landscaping and building entrances elevate the museum's prominent location between the Texas Capitol Complex and UT campus.

“Snøhetta’s design expands the museum’s world-class art collection beyond the museum’s galleries and creates a highly visible public place of — and for — the arts and Austin," he said.

The Blanton also commissioned a new large public mural by Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera to cover an interior wall of the Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building. She said in the release that it was an honor to create her first commissioned mural for a museum she has admired for decades.


“As a museum that has long been at the forefront of collecting work by artists of Latin American descent, as well as the place where Ellsworth Kelly realized his last great work of art, entering the collection at this moment marks a high point in my long career," Herrera said.

Access to the Moody Patio and grounds is free for Blanton members and all visitors, and admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors aged 65 and up, and $8 for children and non-UT college ID holders.

More information about the grand opening celebration can be found on the Blanton's website.

Photo courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art

UT Austin’s Blanton Museum launches Latino art initiative with new galleries and exhibitions


¡Gracias a Dios, más arte latino en Austin! The University of Texas’ Blanton Museum of Art has just announced the launch of their Latino art initiative with two new gallery spaces set to open in March, plus a new exhibition to premiere in spring 2024.

According to a press release, the new initiative is supported by the gift and purchase of 5,650 artworks from former UT staff Dr. Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia. An ongoing endeavor for six decades, the Cárdenas/Garcia collection has a large focus on Chicano prints from the 1960s and is one of the largest private collections in the world.

As a former professor at UT, Dr. Cárdenas has first-hand experience supporting Latino artists and promoting their art nationwide. Dr. Cárdenas previously donated to the Blanton in 2017, gifting over 350 prints from community arts center Self Help Graphics & Art.

Blanton Museum director Simone Wicha praised Dr. Cárdenas and Garcia for their continued support of Latino art in museums throughout the decades:

“Latino culture is an essential part of U.S. culture, especially here in the Southwest, and our shared commitment to representing and amplifying Latino history and voices through art prompted me to begin this collaboration with Gilberto and Dolores,” she says. “The new initiative is an important next step for the Blanton, which has been a leader in American contemporary art and holds one of the oldest and most distinguished collections of Latin American art in this country.”

The decision to house their Cárdenas/Garcia collection at the Blanton came from the museum’s long-standing commitment to the field of Latino art. Additionally, the museum will spend the next five years digitizing every artwork from the collection, donating a select number of works to other institutions around the country.

“The Cárdenas/Garcia collection at the museum will provide access to Latino art for the student body and faculty for discovery and research, in addition to serving as a resource for the Austin community,” Dr. Cárdenas and Garcia said in a statement. “We are confident that the research undertaken by the curatorial staff and the exhibitions and publications that result will represent a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge and understanding of this aspect of American art.”

The first rotation in the new Latino art-dedicated gallery spaces, Cara a Cara / Face to Face: Chicano Portraits from the Gilberto and Dolores Cárdenas Collection, will open in March and feature several Chicano artists’ paintings who “use portraiture as a form of personal, cultural, or political affirmation” as described in the release. Works displayed will come from artists like Claudio Dicochea, Esperanza Gama, Yolanda López, Linda Vallejo, and many more.

The Blanton also received a five-year grant from Latino art initiative Advancing Latinx Art in Museums to hire a dedicated associate curator. The curator will serve as an essential aid in documenting and exhibiting the Cárdenas/Garcia collection, while also working directly with faculty to support Latino studies at UT through the development of educational and exhibition programming. The museum will seek to endow the position when the grant expires.

“Importantly positioned within the first Latin American art department to be founded in this country, this new curatorial position will expand the study and presentation of Chicano and Latino art, working closely with the Cárdenas/Garcia Collection,” said Vanessa Davidson, the Blanton’s curator of Latin American art. “The Blanton’s new dedicated gallery spaces will ensure that these artworks, as well Latino art more generally, have a constant, dedicated presence for museum visitors and for scholars who come from far and wide to research this landmark collection.”

A new exhibition in the Blanton’s Paper Vault gallery is anticipated in the spring of 2024, dedicated to the Cárdenas/Garcia collection and representing the significance of Latino artists’ printmaking and photography. Though the exhibit will have a special focus on Chicano artists, works will span several historical periods and cultural communities.

More information about The Blanton Museum’s new Latino art initiative can be found at blantonmuseum.org.

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4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer


Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish


  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish


  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower


  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million


An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.

Uchi spinoff to debut "whisky omakase," bar pairings, and bao in Austin

Raising the Bar

Uchibā isn't a new concept, nor is it newly promised to Austin, but it's finally getting closer to becoming a reality. The bar and restaurant spinoff from Uchi (translated as "Uchi Bar") announced today that it is set to open in late summer in the Google Tower.

Hai Hospitality, the parent group of famous omakase restaurant Uchi, more casual sushi restaurant Uchiko, and drop-in Asian barbecue restaurant Loro, announced the idea in October of 2021, setting a launch date in fall of 2022. The intent was always to open the restaurant in the Google Tower (601 West 2nd St.), so the difference now is just timing.

The original Uchibā opened in Dallas in 2019, operating upstairs from Uchi, an Austin export. This exchange is now coming back around, blurring the lines of what's from which Texas city. Similarly, the lines are blurred between what each restaurant serves, since Uchibā does include some of Uchi and Uchiko's most popular dishes: hot and cool tastings, agemono (deep fried bites), raw fish rolls, yakitori, and more, including dessert.

Of course, there will be lots of menu items that are unique to Uchibā, especially when informed by the spirits behind the bar. Some of these food and drink pairings include the Hawaiian-ish spiced ham misubi with nori, rice, and tepahe, a fermented pineapple drink; and the vodka and caviar with olive oil, burnt butter, brioche, and chives. As well as these "duos," the bar will offer omakase flights for whiskey and agave spirits.

“At Uchi we combine flavors and textures to create what we call the ‘perfect bite,’” said Chef Tyson Cole, the James Beard Award-winning chef who started the Uchi brand, in a press release. “With Uchibā, we wanted to take that a step further by unifying food with cocktails and spirits. Our 'Perfect Pairs' and the whisky omakase play off this idea with intentional combinations of food, cocktails and the the amazing array of Japanese whiskies behind the bar.”

Some menu items aren't just unique to Uchibā; They're also only available at the Austin location, thanks to its chef de cuisine, Vaidas Imsha. His menu includes categories that don't appear at the Dallas location — "Buns + Bao" and dumplings — and a long list of items that could constitute their own menu independently. Among these are a Caesar salad with Japanese twists; a Wagyu beef bulgogi with radish kimchi; two fish crudos with refreshing additions like asian pear and cucumber aguachile; and the more straightforward karaage spiced up with kimchi caramel and yuzu pear.

Uchibā will operate Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 pm; until midnight on Fridays; and until 11 pm on Saturdays. Happy Hour will be from 4-6 pm Monday through Friday.

Uchiba Austin

Photo courtesy of Uchibā

Although Uchi is from Austin, Uchiba, the upstairs bar, has only existed in Dallas until now.