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The Blanton Museum announces a sprawling $35 million upgrade

The Blanton Museum of Art and its surrounding buildings on The University of Texas' campus are getting a dramatic $35 million makeover that will completely change the look of the 200,000 square-foot area with improved landscaping and new architecture.


The update is scheduled to break ground in February and isn't expected to be complete until late 2022.

The project will be led by award-winning, New York-based international design firm Snøhetta, and will feature 15 gigantic, flower-like structures that create a shady social space, which will be called Moody Patio. Of course, no social structure in Austin is complete without live music, so the area will include two stages and seating.

The flowers were designed to complement Ellsworth Kelly's colorful "Austin" chapel that was erected in 2018. In addition to the towering metal flowers, new landscaping will add more than 25,000 new plants to beautify the area.

The patio will unite and refresh the Blanton's two buildings, which have been criticized by passersby as looking plain. The Moody Foundation donated $17.5 million for the project, emphasizing a connection to nature.

On top of the immense structural changes, The Blanton commissioned an original mural painted by 105-year-old Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, completing the southern entrance to the campus. This mural will be the first of many the museum will commission.

Herrera's mural, entitled "Verde que te quiero verde" or "Green how I desire you green," was inspired by Federico García Lorca's poem, "Romance Sonámbulo." The mural depicts 14 green squares coming together with four diagonal white spears to form a smaller green square.

So far, the museum has raised just over $33 million, with a goal of reaching $35 million for the completed project.

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