The Blanton Museum of Art is located at the University of Texas at Austin. The museum was named after Jack S. Blanton, a former University of Texas chairman. Jack S. Blanton started the campaign to build the new museum on campus and also donated five million dollars to its construction. The Blanton Museum of Art was designed by Michael McKinnel and is more than 180,000 square-feet which makes it the largest university art museum in the United States. The Blanton Museum is equipped with educational areas, conservation facilities, visitors services, a public plaza, classrooms, and a garden. The museum also has an auditorium capable of seating three hundred people. The auditorium can serve various presentation needs and is equipped with slide, video, and film equipment. Visitors to the museum can also spend time at the Blanton Cafe where they can enjoy a gourmet pizza, salads, sandwiches and a variety of coffee drinks.
There are five main collections and six main exhibitions located in the Blanton Museum of Art. The collections include European Paintings, American and Contemporary, Latin American, Recent Acquisitions, Prints and Drawings. The exhibitions are; Birth of the Cool, Workspace, Americas, European Paintings, and Modern and Contemporary Prints. Each collection features thousands of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and other works in new media. The two most prominent collections at the museum are the Mari and James A. Michener Collection and the C.R. Smith Collection. Both of the collections contain American Art. The museum is also strong in modern and contemporary Latin American art, 15th century prints, drawings and European paintings.
The museum has an extensive collection that contains more than 17,000 works of art. Almost a thousand works of art have been added annually to the museum over the last decade. The museum is constantly seeking to obtain impressive new works in order to expand opportunities for teaching and educational programs. The Blanton Museum of Art is the only art museum in the city of Austin that has a permanent collection of substantial range. The museum serves as a cultural liaison between the community and the university.
The museum hosts an Artist-in-Residence program with the help of the Brazil Center of Art. Other programs include public and educational programs that increase art awareness and appreciation. There is a multitude of events at the museum that includes talks, classes and an art party that takes place on the first Friday of every month. The monthly art party is referred to as the B Scene. At the B Scene, various artworks from emerging and prominent artists are highlighted. The admission cost to the B Scene is $10 and tickets can be purchased online or at the museum.
Art connoisseurs are offered the chance to become a member of the Blanton Museum of Art for an annual fee of at least $45. Memberships level vary due to the contribution amount. Memberships benefits include free admission to the Blanton Museum of Art for one year, discounts at the museum shop and cafe, and invitations to art tours and sneak previews of exhibitions.
Group tours of the museum are scheduled through the University's educational department. Group rates cost $2 per person. General admission for adults to the museum is $7 and $3 for children. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday and admission is free all day on Thursdays.