Artbeat

Urban taxpayers and wealthy donors are giving new life to Texas museums.

ACCORDING TO THE TEXAS Commission on the Arts, Texas ranks dead last in the U.S. in funding of the arts: Our state government spends 18 cents per citizen annually on the visual and performing arts, film festivals, arts education, and the like. Out of necessity, then, major Texas cities from El Paso to Houston are looking elsewhere to fund an unprecedented boom in museum construction and expansion (see related story, Art: “ On With the Shows ,”). Communities, individuals, corporate donors, and foundations have already pledged more than $200 million to buy land, build or renovate galleries, and establish endowments over the next decade—and that’s not counting the $32 million Nasher Sculpture Garden planned for a two-acre site adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art. Here’s a look at six of the biggest projects.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Location—Main and Binz
Size—185,000 sq. ft.
Will house —More than 30,000 objects from antiquity to 1910
Architect—Rafael Moneo, Spain
Price tag —$115 million
Major donors —Shell Oil Company Foundation, Houston Endowment, Joe and Lee Jamail, Fayez Sarofim
Open to public —1999

Austin Museum of Art

Location—Third between Guadalupe and San Antonio
Size—87,000 sq. ft.
Will house —American art, including Mexican and Caribbean
Architect—Robert Venturi, Philadelphia
Price tag —$17 to $20 million
Major donors —Austin taxpayers, who approved more than $11 million in bonds
Open to public —Early twenty-first century

University of Texas at Austin’s Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art

Location—Red River and Twenty-sixth
Size—100,000 sq. ft.
Will house —Prints and drawings, twentieth-century American art, Latin American art
Architect—N/A (selection committee now meeting)
Price tag —$42 million
Major donors —Houston Endowment, James and Mari Michener, Bernard and Audre Rapoport
Open to public —2002

San Antonio Museum of Art’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art

Location—West Jones off Broadway
Size—30,000 sq. ft.
Will house —Pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, modern, contemporary, and folk art
Architect—Overland Partners, San Antonio
Price tag —$11 million
Major donors —City of San Antonio, Mabee Foundation, Ewing Halsell Foundation, Rockefeller family
Open to public —1998

El Paso Museum of Art

Location—Santa Fe and Arts Festival Plaza
Size—104,000 sq. ft.
Will house —Mexican Colonial and European painting, nineteenth- and twentieth-century
Architect—American art BKM, El Paso; Perspectiva, El Paso
Price tag —$14 million
Major donors —The City of El Paso, which kicked in $13 million
Open to public —Late 1997

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Location—Camp Bowie and Arch Adams
Size—200,000 sq. ft.
Will house —International contemporary art
Architect—N/A (six finalists have been chosen)
Price tag —At least $60 million
Major donors —The Burnett Foundation
Open to public —Early twenty-first century

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