New Grounds Initiative

New Grounds Initiative

The Project

Has construction begun? Will the museum be open during construction?

The official groundbreaking was virtual and took place on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. You can view a recording of the event here. The construction process has begun and the museum will remain open during construction, unless otherwise noted. We have scheduled a full calendar of new, thought-provoking exhibitions, which you may preview here. Please check this site for helpful updates on navigating the museum grounds when you visit.

When will construction be finished? What is timeline for completion of project?

The Blanton aims to complete construction in spring 2023.

I saw one of the big petal-shaped shade structures on the museum grounds near the end of June 2021. Where did it go?

During the week of June 28, 2021, the Snøhetta architects and Blanton team were reviewing a shade structure prototype temporarily installed on site as part of the construction process. The actual shade structures will be installed later in the project. 

How is the project funded?

The Blanton’s fundraising campaign covers construction and landscaping encompassing over 200,000 square feet; the acquisition and installation of the Carmen Herrera mural and additional art commissions by other leading contemporary artists; renovations and state-of-the art technology in the lobbies in both the Smith and Michener buildings; a renovation and expansion of the Blanton café; unique and welcoming furnishings for the new Moody Patio; and sound systems and other technical infrastructure to make possible robust outdoor programming; as well as other details to complement the new design and further enhance the visitor experience.

Will there be naming opportunities for donors?

The new plaza has been named the Moody Patio thanks to a major gift from the Moody Foundation; that name will be prominently featured on-site and visible to visitors. In addition, the Butler Sound Gallery has been named in honor of a generous gift from Sarah and Ernest Butler to create a long-term space dedicated to sound art. Depending on gift level, there may be further naming opportunities within the landscape and inside the museum’s buildings. In addition to a reimagining of the museum’s annual donor wall, there will also be a new donor wall to celebrate lifetime giving. For more information, you may contact our director of development here.


What happened to the existing trees? Were they relocated?

The remaining trees in the plaza were unhealthy and damaged by squirrel activity, so unfortunately they were unable to be relocated. Landscape Services at The University of Texas at Austin have repurposed the trees into mulch that will be redistributed across campus.

The new grounds landscape plan calls for the planting of 30 additional trees and more than 25,000 new plants (95% of which are native to Texas).

The university recognizes the importance of trees to the campus and the need to manage that resource in sustainable ways as the campus evolves. An overview and examples of the university’s approach are available on its Tree Conservation site.