A Period of Dynamic Transformation at The Contemporary Austin
As one museum with two distinct sites, The Contemporary Austin is currently shaping a Master Plan to maximize the value of the museum’s existing spaces. Laguna Gloria, a fourteen-acre site on Lake Austin, offers visitors a unique art-in-nature experience, with opportunities for the public to engage with art and the creative process at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, the Driscoll Villa, the Gatehouse Gallery, and the Art School. The Jones Center, the museum’s site located in downtown Austin on Congress Avenue, offers visitors the opportunity to engage with contemporary art in an architecturally significant building in an urban environment. Through these two sites, The Contemporary Austin aims to integrate contemporary art into the fabric of city life. To this end, The Contemporary Austin is undertaking significant improvements of both sites.
Jones Center Renovation and The Moody Rooftop
In May 2015, the Moody Foundation awarded The Contemporary Austin a $1.3 million grant to support the construction of The Moody Rooftop at the Jones Center, part of a renovation and expansion of the museum’s downtown site.
In December 2016, The Contemporary Austin celebrated the Grand Reopening of the Jones Center and the debut of The Moody Rooftop, now transformed into a signature destination for cultural events in the community. The rooftop’s open-air canopy with weather-proofing options will allow the museum to offer additional public programs and host a range of events and community gatherings all year long.
In addition, increased gallery space and a range of gallery enhancements will allow The Contemporary Austin to accommodate larger exhibitions and conform to the American Alliance of Museums standards for the handling and exhibition of artwork.
The Jones Center renovation was led by Paul Lewis of LTL Architects, who led the original building renovation in 2008.
The Contemporary Austin’s decision to retrofit the existing building at the Jones Center represents sound stewardship of the museum’s resources and a deeper commitment to serving the community. The improvements have contributed to the revitalization of downtown Austin and the Congress Avenue cultural corridor, and increase the museum’s capacity to offer programming for and to reach diverse audiences.
Master Plan for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
In fall 2013, the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation awarded The Contemporary Austin a $9 million grant to support the creation of the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Presently, the recognized landscape architecture firm, Reed Hilderbrand, is designing a Master Plan that will transform Laguna Gloria into a space for the public to experience exceptional works of art in a vibrant natural setting.
To date, the site has featured sculptures by an array of acclaimed artists, including Tom Friedman, Orly Genger, Jim Lambie, Charles Long, Paul McCarthy, Tom Sachs, Monika Sosnowska, Do Ho Suh, John Grade, and Marianne Vitale. By further developing the Sculpture Park, The Contemporary Austin seeks to create a venue that is both richly useful for the local community and supportive of ambitious collaborations with artists and curators. Through careful planning, the Sculpture Park will continue to evolve into an extraordinary cultural destination, engaging new audiences with contemporary art and contributing to the cultural economy of Austin.
Reed Hilderbrand was recognized with the 2017 Excellence Award in Analysis and Planning from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects for its ongoing work at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.
IMAGE: Rendering of the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria Master Plan, 2015. Courtesy Reed Hilderbrand.