Arts / Museums / Galleries

The Dallas Museum of Art Joins the Striking $158 Million Cultural Arts Complex Coming to UT Dallas’ Evolving Campus

Fine Art for All

BY // 04.20.23

As the Texas institution enters its 120th year, the Dallas Museum of Art — one of the largest art museums in the country —  is continuing to expand its reach thanks to a major new partnership with The University of Texas at Dallas and its highly anticipated new art history research center, the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr. Athenaeum.

The multi-year partnership will bring some of the museum’s finest works to the innovative, evolving campus when phase I of the Athenaeum, a sprawling, 12-acre complex featuring a two-acre plaza and three buildings dedicated to the arts designed by Morphosis Architects (The Perot Museum), opens in 2024.

The first component, an extension of the Crow Museum of Asian Art, was announced in October 2022. Now, the DMA is set to join its ranks. While the Crow Museum of Asian Art will be the Athenaeum’s resident museum, additional space will be designated for significant works on loan from the DMA, all housed under the same fabulous roof.


The Crow Museum of Asian Art is one of three buildings of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr. Athenaeum complex at UT Dallas. (Rendering Morphosis Architects)


An Artful Vision for UT Dallas

Dr. Michael Thomas, director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, recalls that his predecessor, the late Rick Brettell who first envisioned the cultural complex, felt that the UTD campus’ location in Richardson made it convenient to access for much of the Metroplex, making the Athenaeum not just a boon for students, but for North Texas as well.

“It’s a big deal for UTD, and for our president, Richard C. Benson, who has committed himself to bring the arts to our campus ― which is already so well-known for its STEM programs,” Dr. Thomas tells PaperCity.


DMA – The otherworldly design of Morphosis Architects incorporates cantilevered structures and glass enclosed sanctuaries. (Rendering Morphosis Architects)
The otherworldly design by Morphosis Architects incorporates cantilevered structures and glass-enclosed sanctuaries. (Rendering Morphosis Architects)

The Otherworldly Design of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr. Athenaeum

Each of the three new cultural buildings  ― parts of the overall Athenaeum being designed ― will have a larger second floor that extends beyond the ground level, creating a loggia over the grand linear plaza at the heart of the complex.

In Phase I, the two-story, 68,000-square-foot Crow Museum will represent a global perspective of art, allowing students an interactive gallery experience, along with a student docent program, and added opportunities for new research and technology as part of a “laboratory-like” museum. This now includes the newly announced galleries which will house rotating artworks on loan from the DMA.

Phase II of the project will add a two-story, 600-seat concert hall and rehearsal spaces, while Phase III of the newly designed cultural complex will bring an additional 50,000-square-foot museum whose primary focus will be on the art of the Americas. The Anthenaeum will also include a new 1,100-car parking garage parking structure on the eastern edge of the plaza.

“I am thrilled to welcome some of the finest works of art in our city to the new campus museum,” UTD president Richard C. Benson in a statement. “This initiative supports our goal to improve student access to the visual arts, and I cannot think of a better opportunity for students – not only those studying the fine arts at UT Dallas but all students from every discipline.”

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