Arts / Museums

Unique Museum at University of Texas Draws Art World VIPs to $1.1 Million Preview Night

BY // 03.15.18

What: Opening Gala for Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin

Where: The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin

PC Moment: Three hundred guests from across the country gathered at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin to celebrate the opening of Austin, Ellsworth Kelly’s monumental final work and a new cornerstone of the Blanton’s permanent collection.

The museum invited supporters and art world friends including major funders, collectors, gallerists, museum directors, community and business leaders to preview the stunning building at a black-tie fundraising dinner. A record $1.1 million was raised over the evening to provide necessary funding that impacts every aspect of the museum’s programming.

Jack Shear, the late artist’s longtime partner and president of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, was a host of the evening; along with Simone J. Wicha, Blanton Museum of Art director; Gregory Fenves, University of Texas at Austin president; and Michael Klein, Blanton National Leadership Board chairman. The crew offered some personal remarks about the landmark project and its impact on the Blanton, and Austin as a whole.

“Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin is the culmination of his career,” said Wicha. “And, as his many friends and supporters of this project can attest, it is also a reflection of the artist’s own monumental generosity and spirit.”

Attendees were welcome to view Austin and its accompanying exhibition, Form into Spirit: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, which explores the origins of the artist’s final work.

Dinner, prepared by Chef Elmar Prambs of the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, was served under twinkling lights in a tent on the Blanton grounds, giving guests a perfect view of Austin and the Texas State Capitol.

Who: Event Chair David G. Booth; Austin Chairs Suzanne Deal Booth, Jeanne Klein; Ft. Worth Chair Alice Walton; Houston Chairs Stuart Stedman, Judy Tate; New York Chair Agnes Gund; and San Antonio Chair Charles Butt.

City and state officials including Governor of the State of Texas Greg Abbott, Mayor of the City of Austin Steve Adler, and Chancellor of The University of Texas System Admiral William H. McRaven & Georgeann McRaven.

Major funders of the Austin campaign Janet & Wilson Allen, Suzanne Deal Booth, David G. Booth, Sarah & Ernest Butler, Stacy & Joel Hock, Jeanne & Michael Klein, Clayton Maebius, Lora Reynolds, Mary McDermott Cook, Sally & Tom Dunning, Mary Ralph Lowe, Judy & Charles Tate, Leslie & Jack S. Blanton, Jr., Kelli & Eddy Blanton, Judy & David Beck, Eliza & Stuart Stedman, Ellen & Steven Susman, Amanda & Glenn Fuhrman, Agnes Gund, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.

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