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Inside the Blanton Museum of Art’s new $35 million grounds

After years of planning, the art museum is celebrating the grand opening of its new grounds this Saturday.

Looking up to the sky, the image frames eight of the new, petal-shaped structures that make up the canopy at the Blanton Museum of Art. They're painted white and filled with little holes, giving the impression of a starry sky.

The Blanton Museum of Art’s new Moody Patio is shaded with 15 petal-shaped covers.

Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

After years of planning, more than a year of construction, and $35 million, the Blanton Museum of Art is unveiling some brand new grounds.

Guests are invited to celebrate the new space tomorrow, so let’s get the low-down on the changes.

A large, long mural depicting green shapes overlaid over a white background.

The new mural “Verde, que te quiero verde” was commissioned by Cuban American artist Carmen Herrera.

Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

What’s new

The effort fills in the museum’s 200,000-sqft property, bringing an artistic experience outdoors and connecting the main building with Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin.”

One of the largest changes is at the Moody Patio: a new, shady canopy of 15 petal-shaped structures that looks like art pieces themselves. The patio — which was designed by UT graduates at architecture firm Snøhetta — will also have raised platforms for live music and other performances.

Other additions include:

What looks like an arcing rainbow spikes over the Blanton's main lobby.

No, it’s not a trick of the light — the art piece “Plexus No. 44" is just inside the Blanton’s doors.

Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

But it’s not just new grounds — the programming is changing, too.

The Blanton is now open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and will shift its free admission days from Thursdays to Tuesdays. The museum will also launch Second Saturdays, which will include public programming and special events.

Stay tuned, because a new cafe is also in the works.

Petal-shaped structures arc just outside of the new entrance to the Blanton Museum of Art.

The Blanton’s entryway and grounds got a glow-up just in time for summer.

Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

Join the celebration

Stop by the museum at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 for:

  • Guest speakers and announcements
  • Live music by Gina Chavez, the Peterson Brothers, DJ Ella Ella, and Adrian Quesada
  • A one-day printmaking exhibition
  • Readings by Texas writers
  • Food for purchase by Flyrite Chicken, Tamale Addiction, Amy’s Ice Creams and more

Events on the Moody Patio are free to attend, but access to the museum and “Austin” installation cost normal admission fees. RSVP here.