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Austin City Guide: Art Museums

Austin's vibrant art scene is everything but conventional, lacking nothing when it comes to creativity and imagination in the presentation of all types of art around the city. From sophisticated sculptures to abstract wall murals and everything in between, this guide will help you find the best art adventure for your interests.

INDOOR MUSEUMS

Spread throughout downtown Austin, these museums have everything from contemporary works to rich cultural creations and rotating exhibitions to please every art-loving Austinite. 

Blanton

200 E MLK Jr. Blvd | Admission: Free-$9 | Website

Located on the southernmost edge of The University of Texas' campus, Blanton is the largest university art museum in the country and home to the biggest public-owned art collection in Central Texas. Austin's most extensive indoor museum, Blanton houses around 18,000 pieces of art ranging from the Renaissance to the Modernism era, with a notable amount of works from 20th century Latin America. You don't want to miss Blanton's newest exhibit: "Austin" by Ellsworth Kelly. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/arts/design/austin-ellsworth-kelly-building.html

The Contemporary Austin: Jones Center

700 Congress Ave | Admission: $3-5 | Website

Proudly perched on the corner of Congress and 7th, The Contemporary Austin Jones Center is an iconic establishment devoted to bringing world-class artists to Texas' capitol city. Once a three-story brick building, its multimillion-dollar facelift recreated the space which now boasts multiple galleries at street level, a main gallery on the second floor, and a 5,500-sqft rooftop deck for screenings and events.

Mexic-Arte Museum

419 Congress Ave | Admission: $1-4 | Website

Just a few blocks away from the Jones Center sits this Austin gem, one of the nation's few museums dedicated solely to Mexican and Mexican-American art. The 20,000-sqft building features two galleries in which rotating exhibitions host everything from traditional to contemporary shows. Due to their collaborations with Mexican institutions far and wide, many major cultural works make an appearance at this museum that would rarely be seen outside of their native country.

UT Visual Arts Center

23rd + Trinity | Admission: Free | Website

Inside the fine art building of The University of Texas is the UT Visual Arts Center, a space with five galleries for rotating exhibitions showcasing the work of UT students, faculty, and emerging artists from around the world. Multiple-exhibition areas house a variety of work in a smaller space, shedding light on the collaboration and experimentation between members of the UT art community.

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OUTDOOR MUSEUMS

When incorporated with Austin's beautiful natural scenery, art comes to life. These outdoor art collections are perfect to explore on a sunny day, and have the power to make you feel like you're far outside city limits. 

Umlauf Sculpture Garden + Museum

605 Robert E. Lee Rd | Admission: $1-5 | Website

Charles Umlauf's cast pieces have been seamlessly integrated into the culture of Austin, and this beautiful outdoor garden is a culmination of his legacy. Over 130 pieces can be found between the trees of this garden tucked between Barton Springs and Zilker Park, a combination of both Umlauf's iconic dramatic figures, works from other artists, and the winner of the annual Umlauf Prize for student artists.

The Contemporary Austin: Laguna Gloria

3809 West 35th St | Admission: $3-5 | Website

An ethereal blend of nature and art, this lakefront property removes visitors from the hustle and bustle of the city and transports them to an imaginative landscape all their own. The Mediterranean-style villa of Clara Driscoll welcomes visitors in a stately manner, but a stroll around the grounds and down to the lake will reveal a slew of beautifully-incorporated sculptures.

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STREET ART TO EXPLORE

Austin's street art scene is one to be appreciated in conjunction with the above fine art establishments. Vivid colors, bold designs, and powerful messages can be found along the streets of the city, ranging from small designs to wall murals.

HOPE Outdoor Gallery

11th & Baylor St | Admission: Free | Website

One of the city's most well-known street art venues is HOPE Outdoor Gallery, which will be moving from Clarksville to the East Side in 2018. Professional graffiti artists and ambitious amateurs alike visit "Graffiti Park" with spray paint in tow, and it's one of the city's most popular Instagram spots for good reason—The bold art and skyline views make for an unbeatable photo.

Austin Street Art Segway Tour

1403 Lavaca St | Admission: $65 | Website

This fun art tour spans the entirety of downtown Austin, visiting a thorough collection of the most iconic street art the city has to offer. Led by a guide, this two-hour adventure is a great way to see a new side of Austin and get to know the wall murals and colorful oddities you pass every day.

When it comes to art, Austin's blend of far-out finds and classic pieces offers a little something for every local to explore. Like what you see? Message us and tell us what your favorite museum or gallery is on one of our social media pages.

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