The Austin Chronicle


Hey, We're Ready for an Architect, Too!

May 1, 1998, Arts

Last week, we noted that the fine arts museum on the University of Texas campus - let's all say it together now: the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art - had launched its search for an architectural firm to design the new facility it will be building on the south campus, but we failed to mention the other museum in town that's in the market for a new facility design and aching to choose an architect. That would be the Austin Museum of Art, of course, which is still forging ahead with renewed vigor toward a new permanent downtown home at Guadalupe and Third Streets. As you recall, last year AMOA finally cut loose the museum design that Robert Venturi worked up back in 1985, when the proposed facility was set for a block north of the current site. (Between the new site, which is larger than its predecessor, and a revision of the museum's mission, AMOA just felt it was better off starting from scratch.) Now, it's setting the search process in motion by issuing a Request for Qualifications to 125 architectural firms worldwide. (Native Texans, take heart: 40% of the RFQs went to firms in the Lone Star State.) According to the museum timeline, the AMOA Architect Selection Committee (chaired by Stephen Becker) will winnow the list of applicants to a maximum of five firms in June and make the final selection in late summer. Call 495-9224 for more info.

Meanwhile, back at the Blanton, the remaining six firms in the running to design that facility will be making public presentations regarding their views on museum design and past work over three days in mid-May. You can find out the whos and whens in this space next week, same architect-time, same architect-channel. Or just call 232-1988.

Hey, We Just Want a Home!

Then, of course, there are those local artistic entities who are less interested in world-class architects than in just having a roof over their heads. So it is with AusTix/The Box Office, the centralized ticketing service for local arts events run by the Austin Circle of Theatres (ACoT), which is having its cozy little booth booted out of Book People at the end of May, and as yet has no new place in which to set up shop. If you've been following recent reports about Book People's restructuring in the face of hardcore competition from the big-shouldered national booksellers, you can imagine why AusTix/TBO is being shown the door. But while it's a shame for this valuable ticket service (can you say half-price?) to lose such a high-profile, high foot-traffic location, it would be an even bigger shame for it to be unable to find a new place altogether. So, as you read this, think of a spot that would be just dandy for a booth selling inexpensive tickets to local performing arts events. Then, call up Peck Phillips, The Box Office manager, and feed him a lead. He'll appreciate it and, if it pans out, you and every other arts lover in the city will benefit. Oh, that Box Office number is 454-TIXS.

Worthy Causes

Tapestry Dance Company is having a Block Party. The multi-form dance company promises food, drink, demonstrations of tap, clogging, tango, Irish step dancing, and lots o' music, from the likes of Susanna Sharpe & Samba Police, Nuance Section, Concerto Grosso, Peter & the Tribe, Bigga Rhythm, and the Gypsies. Dress to dance. The party is Saturday, May 2, 4-10pm, at Tapestry, 507 Pressler. Cost: $4 (but kids are free). Proceeds benefit Tapestry. Call 347-0404 for info.

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