New Grounds Initiative


When will construction start? Will the museum be open during construction?

The official groundbreaking was virtual and took place on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. You may view a recording of the event here. The construction will begin in spring 2021 and the museum will remain open during construction. We have scheduled a full calendar of new, thought-provoking exhibitions, which you may preview here. 

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

The Blanton aims to complete construction around late 2022.

How much did the project cost? How was it funded?

The total campaign goal for the new grounds initiative is $35 million. 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.

The museum has raised $33.1 million towards this $35 million goal, with fundraising mostly completed in early 2020. Funds raised for this project were given by the donors exclusively to support the grounds initiative and are earmarked solely for this purpose, as is typical of building campaigns.

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. Depending on gift level, there are 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.