Visiting an Austin museum can be a rare experience for UTexas students who would rather spend their downtime on 6th Street. The Blanton Museum of Art, however, is something every Longhorn should take the time to see. I spent an afternoon walking around the museum to pin down exactly why I love it so much. If you haven’t been, I definitely encourage you to spend some time enjoying its many exhibits.
The museum is ever-changing and alive because Blanton’s collection grows and changes all the time. No two visits to the Blanton Museum are the same. I remember visiting their Turner to Monet exhibition once and, despite my deep respect for the 19th century masters, intended to skip the exhibit during my next visit. But alas, the museum had moved on to a new exhibit by the time I returned! The museum has exhibited everything from famous portraits to Central American folk art.
If you’re concerned that museums aren’t really your type of place, give the Blanton an opportunity to change your mind. I’ve found that people from every walk of life can enjoy what it offers. There are painting, sculptures, abstract art, and way more. There is even an old Macintosh computer you can use to play the original Oregon Trail game. The museum has something for everybody who walks through its doors.
While the Blanton contains many rare and beautiful things, people who aren’t art buffs can enjoy the museum without feeling intimidated. The various collections are well labelled and described by small plaques and signs. Also, feel free to ask questions of one of the many roaming museum volunteers.
The first time I entered the Blanton Museum of Art, I walked into its wide-open atrium and said, “You know… this would be a great place for a concert.” The lady behind the front desk laughed and told me all about “Music at the Blanton.” Little did I know, the museum is famous for hosting concerts and art expositions.
So far I have been to about three concerts at the museum, and the acoustics are phenomenal.You’ll hear everything from Mozart to post-rock if you check ahead. Take some time to see UT’s Butler School of Music feature their Bach Contata Project. The concert is regularly held on the last Tuesday of the month during the academic year. It is hosted by the popular university radio station KMFA 89.5 and displays some of the best music UT Austin has to offer.
The Blanton Museum is a great date location (did I mention the exhibits are free for UT students?). Spend your afternoon wandering the art halls and grab a cup of coffee when you’re done. The Blanton Café opens at 8 AM closes at 4 PM every Monday through Friday. If you’re hungry from all the walking, you can also buy sandwiches, pizza, soup, and some dessert as well. I personally suggest the Smoked Turkey Reuben Sandwich.
The Blanton Museum survives off the donations and support of individuals and groups who enjoy its purpose. Many of its exhibits and educational programs are supported by local organizations like the University Co-op bookstore. These donations allow the Blanton to host school field trips, offer internships to University of Texas students, and present exciting workshops for the public. I encourage you to donate. Every dollar is put to good use.
A stone’s throw from the PCL library and Jester dormatory, the Blanton Museum of Art is a place every Longhorn needs to go before they graduate. The museum offers many different activities, so you can always fit a trip into your busy schedule. Check it out at the corner of MLK and Congress.
Austinot Dusty asks: Have you ever been to the Blanton?
What did you enjoy the most?
(Photos are property of Sheila Scarborough, MoxyJane@Spriral Bound Images, and Barbara Jensen, respectively.)