Another New Museum??!?

That's right, when Austin greets the new millennium, it looks as if it will have not one, but two brand-spanking new art museums. We've been hearing a lot lately about the one proposed by the Austin Museum of Art (quick recap: downtown space, Guadalupe & Third, design by Robert Venturi, original plans torpedoed by Eighties bust, revived last year with support from city council, target opening: December 2000), but this week the University of Texas confirmed what had been discussed only informally for years, that it plans to construct its own new art museum to replace the current Huntington Gallery spaces in the Art Building (San Jacinto Street) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (21st & Guadalupe). On Wednesday, February 5, UT President Robert Berdahl announced officially that the museum was a go, to be built on a site at Red River & 26th Streets, adjacent to the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center and LBJ Library. The bulk of the funding for the $30 million project will be coming from three sources: UT Board of Regents chairman Bernard Rapoport and his wife Audre ($5 million); novelist James Michener and his late wife Mari, whose sizable collection of 20th-century paintings is housed at the Huntington ($10 million); and Houston Endowment, Inc. ($12 million). The new museum will be named in honor of Jack S. Blanton, who chairs Houston Endowment, Inc. and is a former chair of the UT Board of Regents. The process for selecting an architect will begin this year, and UT hopes to finish the 20,000-square foot facility in the year 2001. Local art lovers were treated to this news a day early, thanks to a front-page story by Michael Barnes in the Austin American-Statesman. Interesting that on this heavy news day -- the Darlie Routier death penalty verdict, the O.J. civil trial verdict, and the State of the Union address -- Barnes' story pushed the President below the fold. While we know the placement may not have really reflected the editors' sense of the stories' importance, we loved the symbolism.

Off the Desk

Also on the Huntington front, the exhibit "Out of Bounds: New Work by Eight Southeast Artists" continues, with another visit by one of the show's featured artists. At noon, Wednesday, February 12, Radcliffe Bailey gives the talk "Guardians at the Crossroads" in the Art Building. The exhibit runs through March 2. For more info, call 471-7324.

On the Funding Front

You could say things are looking brighter for Salvage Vanguard Theater after its receipt of a grant from the Mitchell Family Foundation. That's because the $6,000 gift helped the group purchase a programmable lighting board and 12 dimmers. Good news for SVT fans, who can see the company's next project, The Battle of San Jacinto, by Ruth Margraff, beginning March 21 at Planet Theatre. For more info, call 912-0331.
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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003

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