The Blanton Museum of Art has received a gift of $20 million from the Moody Foundation to transform their grounds, as well as over 100 works of art from the Spanish and Portuguese Americas.
The $20 million donation, announced Feb. 9, is intended to make the Blanton an iconic destination, said Carlotta Stankiewicz, director of marketing and communications at the Blanton.
“The master plan will capitalize on (the Blanton’s) growth by reshaping the museum grounds to attract more visitors and offer additional opportunities for outdoor public programming,” Stankiewicz said in an email.
Stankiewicz said a portion of the $20 million gift will fund free admission to the museum on Thursdays, and the museum will complete additional fundraising to pay for the plan to redesign the grounds.
The redesign is currently in development and plans should be released this summer. The architectural firm Snøhetta was chosen to spearhead the project.
“Snøhetta is a global leader in architecture and design and is known for designing critically acclaimed additions to prestigious museums and cultural facilities across the globe,” Stankiewicz said.
Stankiewicz said two founders of Snøhetta, Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar, are alumni of the UT School of Architecture and are leading the project.
The recent acquisition of 119 colonial era Latin American works from collectors Roberta and Richard Huber helped grow the Blanton’s Latin American collection.
The artworks will give new insight into the mingling of European and indigenous traditions, said Rosario Granados, the Carl & Marilynn Thoma associate curator of Spanish colonial art at the Blanton.
“This is like the deepest wound in the history of Latin America ... the moment where Europe came and invaded,” Granados said. “ (The artwork provides) a window of understanding on why Latin America is the way it is.”
Granados said she hopes students will come out and see the collection.
“I think I probably will see it because I come here quite a bit,” studio art freshman Destiny Juarez said. “I think it’ll be interesting to see the art from that time period.”
Many of the pieces will be put on display in the fall, in the Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America exhibition.
“I think (the collection) would be important to understand ... why Mexican culture is so present in Texas at large, but especially in Austin,” Granados said.