News Register for our weekly news digest here.

Blanton Museum of Art Gifted $20 Million

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has received a $20 million gift from the Moody Foundation of Galveston, Texas, that will be used to reimagine and transform the museum’s exterior spaces. The institution tapped the architecture and design firm Snøhetta to work on the project. The firm will unveil its master plan, which aims to better connect the museum’s buildings with the surrounding campus as well as the downtown area, later this year.

The donation, one of the largest ever received by Austin’s cultural sector, was announced by museum director Simone Wicha at the institution’s gala on February 9. “I’m thrilled to share news of this historic gift from the Moody Foundation, which launches the next phase of growth for the Blanton,” Wicha said. “Austin by Ellsworth Kelly, already a treasured icon for our city, has accelerated the Blanton’s evolution into an international arts destination, and the Snøhetta master plan will further our position as an Austin landmark and a vibrant cultural anchor for our community.” 

The museum will reshape much of the exterior area surrounding Kelly’s Austin and the two other buildings that make up the Blanton: the Michener Gallery Building, which opened in 2006 and includes its collection and exhibition galleries, and the Edgar A. Smith Building, which opened two years later and houses the Blanton café, museum shop, auditorium, and administrative offices. 

“The Moody Foundation has a long history with the Blanton, and we are extremely pleased to contribute to such a significant project,” said Elle Moody, trustee of the Moody Foundation. “As a young visitor growing up in Austin, this museum taught me that art is a vital social force to inspire and unite communities.”