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Blanton Museum Of Art
The Blanton Museum of Art is a part of the College of Fine arts in The University of Texas at Austin, with a permanent collection of substantial range and depth. It is the principal art museum in Austin, with collections and exhibits on a par with art museums throughout the country. Positioning itself as a gateway between the University community and the general public in Austin, the Blanton is committed to building the finest collections possible, being a vital resource for teaching in a broad variety of disciplines, and to making their offering available to art lovers of all ages.
Originally known as the University Art Museum, the Blanton dates back to 1963, when a new building for the art department designated some gallery space. The Blaton Museum began collecting in earnest throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and gained a large group of important paintings from a private donation from the acclaimed author James Michener. The Blanton took an early leadership role in the promotion and preservation of Latin American art, founded on the donation of some two hundred paintings and 1,200 drawings from the collection of John and Barbara Duncan. Other permanent holdings include the C. R. Smith Collection of Paintings of the American West, and nearly one thousand contemporary prints donated by Charles Clark of McAllen, Texas. Now, the museum has over 17,000 works in its permanent collection.
The museum also offers a great number of traveling exhibitions, with topics that range from cultural to political art. Whether featuring the sculpture of New York's Park Place Gallery Cooperative, the performance-installation work of Michael Smith and Joshua White, woodcuts and engravings by Albrecht DÃ¼rer, or Rembrandt's etchings, the rotating exhibitions are world-class.
The public programs available at the Blanton are diverse and exciting. They offer public tours of the museum, guided by knowledgeable docents who can answer questions about the collections and exhibits. Each month, they host an art party known as "B-Scene," featuring live music by Austin bands, gallery tours, art-making activities, light snacks, and a cash bar featuring their signature cocktail, the Blantini. The last Tuesday of the month brings the Bach Cantata project, a choral performance held in the majestic atrium of the museum. Hot Art Hip Kids is a program for children, and for adults, they also offer educational lectures on their exhibitions, as well as Third Thursday, a themed event held in the evenings. Classes and workshops on many different subjects are also available.
With the opening of the new Blanton in April 2006-following a 2 1/2 year building project”the museum was for the first time able to house all of its collections under one roof, becoming the premier art museum in Central Texas. In its new home, with its rich and versatile collections, magnificent galleries, fun and diverse programming, and an enthusiastic and committed group of staff and volunteers, the museum continues its mission to promote the arts in Austin to the students attending the University of Texas of Austin and the general public.
By: Dane Smith
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