Transforming the Collection


Over its sixty-year history, the Blanton has been shaped by the generosity of individual collectors. Their visionary gifts formed the contours of the Blanton’s collection, which we continue to research, build upon, and share with our diverse audiences through the innovative collection installations, exhibitions, and interdisciplinary teaching that make the Blanton distinctive.

Today, the Blanton is one of the country’s leading university art museums and the primary art museum for the dynamic city of Austin, drawing visitors from around the world. The museum is an integral part of The University of Texas educational experience, serving every school and college on campus. We are also the largest public art collection in Central Texas and a vital community resource, hosting thousands of K-12 students each year.

In recent years, ambitious projects such as Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin and the re-envisioning of our museum grounds, as well as our nationally-recognized exhibitions, have further raised the profile of the museum, the university, and our growing city.

Continuing this momentum, the Blanton has now launched its Transforming the Collection initiative to help strengthen and sustain a renowned art museum for UT and Austin through collection-transforming gifts of art.  

Transforming the Collection

The Blanton is inviting a small, distinguished group of collectors—University alumni, Austin community members, and other national and international supporters—to participate in this historic campaign. Each donor will have the opportunity to define and elevate the Blanton’s collection by gifting a singular, landmark work of art.  

The works selected for this campaign will best represent the quality and focus of their donors’ collecting, while also strategically addressing gaps in our holdings, building upon existing collection strengths, and enabling us to share a wide range of histories and perspectives with our audiences. Gifts of art will be selected in consultation with the museum director and curators, to support our particular holdings and plans for growth in specific curatorial areas.

Our commitment to frequently rotating the works of art displayed in our galleries means these important gifts of art can be shared with our audiences more immediately and become touchstones within the collection, increasing the impact of each gift and its legacy for future generations of museum visitors. These gifts to the museum also are particularly important as the museum does not have endowed acquisition funds to build its collection.

This initiative builds upon the Blanton’s 2013 exhibition Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections, which sought to highlight the art collections of University of Texas at Austin alumni and to celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary. Austin alumni and to celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary. We are inviting those alumni lenders to now make a lasting impact through a gift to Transforming the Collection, as well as inviting collectors in Austin and nationally, as the museum today plays the role of the city art museum and a leading national voice in the arts.

Gifts to Date Include

Gift of Kathryn Ketelsen

John Singer Sargent, The Countess of Essex, 1906–1907, oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 36 1/4 in.

Gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein

Simone Leigh, The Village Series #8, 2019, ceramic, 48 × 48 × 48 in., © Simone Leigh, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery 

Gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein

Ed Ruscha, Futures, 2001, acrylic on canvas, 82 × 120 in., © 2024 Edward Ruscha 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joe R. Long

Diego Rivera, Pico con naranja [Pico with Orange], 1925, oil on canvas, 26 3/4 x 22 in., © 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Gift of Suzanne McFayden

Ming Smith, Grace Jones, Studio 54 (New York), 1970s, archival pigment print, 24 1/2 x 36 in., © Ming Smith / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Gift of Jack Shear

Ellsworth Kelly, Green Blue Black, 1963, acrylic on canvas, 97 x 144 in., © The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation 

Gift of Judy S. and Charles W. Tate

Roberto Matta, Composition, 1950s, oil on canvas, 35 13/16 x 4, © 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Gift of Darren Walker

Carrie Mae Weems, After Manet, from May Days Long Forgotten, 2003, chromogenic print, 29 1/2 in. diameter, © 2024 Carrie Mae Weems 

Celebrating Donors

Transforming the Collection will culminate with a major exhibition featuring all works selected for this initiative, on view at the Blanton Museum of Art from March to August 2027.  

● A major publication will accompany the exhibition, illustrating the gifts to the campaign and honoring the legacy of these collectors and their impact on the Blanton. 

● Private events for donors will be held nationally to celebrate and connect this important group of collectors.

● The Blanton’s spring 2027 Gala, the museum’s key fundraiser, will coincide with the exhibition, marking this extraordinary moment.

Transforming the Collection occurs in tandem with UT’s major “What Starts Here” capital campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of our university and state. Donors of gifts of art will receive acknowledgement and credit in the university’s campaign.

How to Participate

Gifts of art will be selected with the museum director and curators, to support our particular holdings and plans for growth in specific curatorial areas.

Gifts can be made outright or through estate planning:

● Outright gifts of art are transferred to the museum during your lifetime. Depending on your circumstances, an outright gift may entitle you to a current income tax deduction.


● Promised gifts allow the donor to live with and enjoy their work while including the Blanton in their estate plans. A donor who would like to give a work of art, but is not yet ready to part with it, may promise to give the work to the Blanton at a future date and include this plan in their Will. The museum’s acceptance of a promised gift does not entitle the donor to a current income tax deduction.

With either option, to be celebrated as part of this special campaign, gift paperwork must be signed and finalized by March 2026.

Donors of promised gifts will need to loan their work of art to the spring 2027 celebratory exhibition, and outright gifts will need to be onsite in time for the exhibition.

If you are interested in making a lasting impact on the Blanton through the gift of a work of art, please contact transforming@blantonmuseum.org or call the Director’s Office at (512) 471-9192 to learn more.

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