May 3, 2009
Thanks for writing a provocative assessment of Austin’s current art scene, and projections of how we might work better together and pursue different goals in the future.
As lovely as it is, the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) has long aimed to expand exhibition space beyond Laguna Gloria because construction of new buildings on that site is severely limited by environmental (critical water quality zone and limits on impervious cover) and historical designation limitations. That said, our Laguna Gloria Master Plan anticipates improving the lower grounds for sculpture, projects, and outdoor natural amenities.
The Museum continues to investigate options to move forward with a building on the lot that we own at 4th and Guadalupe. With the high density of transportation, office retail, and residential uses, and wide synergistic and collaborative opportunities with other arts institutions nearby (Arthouse, BalletAustin, Mexic-Arte Museum, The Long Center, The Paramount, the planned Austin City Limits Theatre, the new Central Public Library, etc.), downtown Austin provides an active urban backdrop for the Museum’s exhibition and education endeavors.
In the meantime, to enhance the connections to the art community at our current downtown location at 9th and Congress, we are unveiling a reconfiguration of our exhibition programming in the fall. Each quarterly slot will include a featured individual or thematic group exhibition, a New Works project space that focuses primarily on local artists, and a gallery dedicated to rotating AMOA’s permanent collection in conjunction with loans from Austin collections. The New Art in Austin triennial exhibition (next scheduled for 2011), catalogue, and scholarly documentation will continue to fill all gallery spaces, most likely with curators from outside the region. A residency program either at Laguna Gloria or downtown is something we have already been considering for the future. AMOA serves nearly 300,000 people annually, through our exhibitions and education programs in two distinct locations and we are aiming to build on those successes.
We’re grateful to …might be good for sparking a conversation with the art community, and addressing today’s economic shifts and challenges that the arts in Austin continue to face.