Blanton Museum debuts refreshed new grounds with grand opening celebration on May 13
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.