This March, The University of Texas at Austin broke ground on a project to unify and revitalize the campus of the Blanton Museum of Art at the southern border of the Forty Acres. The donor-funded $35 million initiative, to be completed in late 2022, “will transform the Blanton, opening the museum into the city,” said Simone Wicha, B.S. ‘96, the museum’s director. “We want to create a destination — a beloved destination — for families, students, tourists, and art lovers alike.”
The Blanton’s comprehensive grounds redesign will extend the artistic spirit of the museum’s galleries into its outdoor areas. Its centerpiece, the Moody Patio, is anchored by 15 petal-shaped canopies that will define the space between the museum’s buildings and frame views of the Texas Capitol and Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin.
The patio will be named in honor of a $20 million gift from the Moody Foundation, whose trustee, Elle Moody, a member of the Blanton’s National Leadership Board, and vice chair, Ross Moody, BBA ‘84, were critical to the project’s success. It will also include two raised platforms to stage live music and performances. The Blanton is working with international design firm Snøhetta, whose lead architects for the project include UT alumni Craig Dykers, B.Arch ’85, Elaine Molinar, B.Arch ’88, and John Newman, B.Arch ’86.
In its January story about the project, the New York Times highlighted the “dramatic biomorphic canopy” of the design, as well as plans for a new public mural to be created by the internationally recognized Cuban American painter Carmen Herrera, who received a retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum in 2016. Herrera’s work, “Verde que te quiero verde,” adds yet another dimension to the Blanton’s world-renowned collection of Latin American art.
The Moody Patio’s March groundbreaking took place just three years after the opening of Kelly’s Austin, the iconic new cornerstone of the Blanton’s collection, also made possible through donor support.
The Blanton’s revitalized grounds will serve the UT community and the city of Austin. The new Larry and Mary Ann Faulkner Gateway, named in honor of UT’s 27th president, will welcome visitors to the dynamic new space, made possible by lead funding from the Moody Foundation, Still Water Foundation, estate of alumna Ann Bower, Kahng Foundation, Jack and Katie Blaha, and many other generous donors.