Clara Driscoll, a central Texas notable, donated her 1916 Italianate-style villa and 12 acres of perfectly manicured gardens and lake to the people of Texas in 1943 to be used as “a Museum to bring pleasure in the appreciation of art to the people of Texas.” Since then her dream has become more than she could ever imagined. With a growing Art School and generous donors a 5300 square foot Art School facility was added in 1983.
In 1992 what was then called the Laguna Gloria Art Museum partnered with two other Austin based cultural organizations to form what is now The Austin Museum of Art. With property acquired the Museum opened its current downtown location at 823 Congress Avenue while maintain the original property as AMOA-Laguna Gloria. Due to the increasing success of The Art School, a $3.6 million Laguna Gloria Renewal Project led to restoring Clara Driscoll’s Villa and Garden, making them a much sought after location for exhibitions, education programs, and community events.
Over the last decade critically acclaimed exhibitions from notable sue as Andy Warhol (2003) and Andy Goldsworthy (2004) have increased the visibility of the Museum to an even higher level making it a must-see destination for art lovers everywhere. Along with such high-profile exhibits the continuing efforts of The Art School and efforts to educate a broader audience to the power of 20th 21st Century art have made The Austin Museum of Art a place everyone traveling to Austin owes it to themselves to visit.
Exhibits and Other Interesting Things to See and Do
AMOA has a number of continuing exhibits that focus on contemporary American art that are specifically designed to appeal to a broad audience of both serious art students and those with a casual interest. Much attention is given to make a visitor’s experience interactive, using listening and reading stops, film, and hands-on experiences. Some of the continuing exhibits include:
Advancing Tradition: 20 Years of Printmaking at Flatbed Press: Learn how Flatbed Press has collaborated with an broad range of celebrated artist to produce an amazing variety of diverse prints by marrying traditional equipment with new technologies. Flatbed Press is a living laboratory where great artists stretch the limits of creative printmaking.
New Works: Eric Zimmerman: Eric Zimmerman is one of the most innovative contemporary artists in America. His meticulously rendered works include functional sculptures, giant graphite drawings, and audio works that celebrate the history of exploration, industry , progress, and failure in America.
Collection Series: A constantly changing exhibit in the which various mediums of art or placed side by side, the Collection Series features collections from local, national and international contemporary artists.
New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch: Set to open February 26, 2011 this exhibit will feature emerging artists from Central Texas who are exploring and enlarging the boundaries of contemporary art. Featured Artists include: J. Parker Valentine (mixed media), Ben Ruggiero (photography), Robert Melton (video), Debra Broz (sculpture), Miguel Aragon (printmaking), Jesus Benavente/Jennifer Remenchik (performance), Ben Brandt (sculpture), Elizabeth Chiles (photography), Santiago Forero (photography), Nathan Green (installation), Ian Ingram (drawing), Anna Krachey (photography), Leslie Mutchler (mixed media Adam Schreiber (photography), and Barry Stone (photography).
Laguna Gloria: Art & Nature: Located at the original home of the Museum, offers an exceptional experience of art, history, and nature. Tour the renovated 1916 Italianate-style villa and visit more intimate art exhibits both inside the home and on the beautiful ground. Over 400 classes are taught each year to both children and adults at Laguna Gloria.
Planning Your Visit
AMOA Downtown – The downtown museum is located at 823 Congress Avenue at 9th Street and is open every day except Mondays and holidays. Admission is free to AMOA members, $5 for adults, $4 for Seniors and students, and free to children under 12. A parking garage is available at the northwest corner of 9th and Brazos and metered parking is free after 5:30 pm weekdays and all day on weekends. For further information call 512.495.9224
Laguna Gloria – The Villa is located at 3809 West 35th Street, west of Mopac. The grounds are open seven days a week and the Villa is open Tuesday – Sunday except holidays. A donation of $3 is suggested for admission and tours are available for $12. Parking is free. For further information, call 512.458.8191 .
Driving from Houston, TX to the State Capitol you will want to stay over at least one night.
...and be sure to bring someone you love. Or, want to.
The sunrises and sunsets are simply beautiful in the early Fall. Be sure to watch how the pink of the sun teases the pink of the Capitol Dome as dusk approaches while you enjoy Congress Av., one of the liveliest streets in Texas. And really, so unlike the rest of the State.
Congress has at least two must-see museums: The Austin Museum of Art and the Art House, both well within walking distance of each other. You will want to explore this urban street with its public art and spaces, its tranquil cafés and shops. And yes, there is a Starbucks.
The look and feel of Congress Ave, as it makes its progress directly to the State Capitol, is so much like what more upscale suburban locales have hastily tried to recreate and have failed; creating instead a mere shopping mall with elements like fountains and street lamps tossed in with a strategy that fails.
A movie set is not a city, nor, vice-versa. There is a reason people flee suburbia.
Come to Austin to experience the real thing.
We considered driving straight home after our restful morning having slept-over a friend's home which faces a beautiful tributary to Lake Travis in a development called Paleface Ranch. But, I am so glad we took time to see these two museums. I am always inspired in the least expected of places. One would never think a small, child-friendly space, such that offered by the Austin Museum of Art could exhibit works that are so compelling.
-"Arthouse at the Jones Center creates meaningful opportunities to investigate and experience the art of our time through exhibitions, programs and commission of new work."
December 8-2010 thru February 6-2011: See California-based artist Sofía Córdova's work exhibited at the Arthouse.
I don't know what was more delicious, the eye-candy waiter or the late lunch we had today, 12-12-2010, at this hidden jewel on East 6th St, in Austin. This is the kind of experience, and inexpensive at that, you hope for when visiting another city. Austin is a three hour drive from Houston and there would have been nothing worse than adding terrible food to the ordeal. Ask for the Owner: James T. Hardy. He may tell you where he gets his charming wait staff. Have the vegetarian pad thai and Jasmine Tea. But this will be an experience you will want to share with someone special.
And we literally drove off into the sunset, so like Clint Eastwood. And we avoided the virtual strip-search that a commercial flight would have required of us. My boy friend's new Lexus si250 has the tight turning radius that comes in handy when you have just passed a roadside attraction you didn't know you wanted to go to. It is amazing how many stop lights there are between Austin and Houston, two major cities in Texas. One would think a State that wants to teach the Federal Government how to govern would have adequate roads between its major cities. For instance, the trip between Portsmouth, NH and Boston, MA would be smooth and stop-light-less. There is even a new, elegant suspension bridge in Boston to make the trip to and from the airport so much faster. But, that was one of those Big-Government Projects.