Blanton Museum of Art Poised to Become Largest University Museum in the United States

Oct. 9, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin will become the largest university museum in the United States when it opens its Edgar A. Smith Building in November.

The new structure, along with the celebrated Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building, marks the completion of the Blanton complex.

"The Smith Building completes the museum facility," said Ann Wilson, interim director of the Blanton, "opens up new opportunities for education and finally allows us to offer a total visitor experience."

In celebration, several events are scheduled throughout November, culminating with a public grand opening party on Nov. 16. Visitors will have an opportunity to browse the newly expanded museum shop and sample treats from the new Blanton café. There will be music performances by The Guy Forsyth Trio and others, film screenings, art activities and a book signing by noted New York art historian and critic Jed Perl.

The Edgar A. Smith Building contains a 299-seat auditorium, the new Blanton café and a museum shop that will offer an expanded book selection, jewelry, children's toys, designer chocolates and a large assortment of items made by local artists/artisans, including Chandra Michaels of SugarLuxe and jewelry from Igrid Kuper. A new line of "ART IS..." merchandise (inspired by the Blanton's advertising tagline) is being developed and will include totes, umbrellas and more.

The Smith Building was named in honor of Edgar A. Smith, a University of Texas at Austin alumnus and member of the Chancellor's Council. Smith, a prominent supporter of the university and veteran of the oil and gas industry, lives in Houston.

Designed by Kallman McKinnell & Wood Architects, Inc. of Boston, the Smith Building was planned to complement the Michener Building, and to use the Larry and Mary Ann Faulkner Plaza in between the two, creating a gateway to the university and community.

Learn more about the College of Fine Arts.

For more information, contact: Leslie Lyon, College of Fine Arts, 512 475 7033;  Brady Dyer, University of Texas Press, 512-232-7627;  Kathleen Brady Stimpert, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, 512-475-6784.