PaperCity Magazine

April 2019- Dallas

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Page 37 of 99

36 AUSTIN'S $20 MILLION SURPRISE BLANTON BY CHRISTINA GEYER W hen invited to hop down to Austin for the weekend to attend the Blanton Museum of Art Gala, I had little idea what to expect. I had yet to visit the University of Texas at Austin's renowned museum, which has garnered much attention with the opening of Ellsworth Kelly's remarkable Austin chapel-style building last year. I was equally curious to see how Austin's society set would turn out for its own black-tie moment. On all matters of fashion and philanthropy, our state's capital delivered in spades. With rain and a hint of sleet making for a chilly winter evening, fur coats were in full force, paired with casual-cool gowns — and UT's genteel cowboys were armed with umbrellas to escort guests from the valet post. Inside the museum, Mexico-based artist Thomas Glassford's magnificent Siphonophora sculpture commanded attention (Thomas is the brother of Dallas jewelry designer Andrew Glassford), as did the "Words/Matter: Latin American Art and Language at the Blanton" exhibition, which opened that evening. With the ring of the dinner chimes, guests entered a translucent tent awash in red, designed by Flora Fetish and Frank & Victor. With views of the Texas State Capitol and Ellsworth Kelly's Austin in the background, there could be few more quintessential Texas settings. After the second course of a divine dinner created by chef Elmar Prambs (Four Seasons Hotel Austin), Blanton director Simone Wicha and UT president Gregory Fenves took the dais. The duo had quite the announcement to make: The Moody Foundation has gifted the Blanton $20 million to redesign the museum grounds, making it a more visually prominent icon on the Austin landscape. Ross Moody, a trustee of the foundation, was in attendance — his sister is Francie Moody-Dahlberg of Dallas — along with his daughter, Elle Moody. "This museum taught me that art is a vital social force to inspire and unite communities," Elle said. "The Blanton continues to make great strides bringing world-class art experiences to visitors from Central Texas and beyond." Cue the ovation. From our sister city came several Houstonians, including Leslie and Jack Blanton Jr. and Kelli and Eddy Blanton of the Blanton family for which the museum is named, and Judy and Charles Tate. at the Susan MacTavish Best, LeMel Humes Suzanne Deal Booth Caroline & Brian Haley Kellie & Ari Rastegar Ross Moody, Elle Moody A.J. Bingham Clayton & Andrew Maebius Conley Hataway & Catherine Nissley Charles & Judy Tate Maya Nairn, Bettina Barrow, Brian Barrow Kelli & Eddy Blanton, Nana Smith, James Milliken, Simone Wicha, Leslie & Jack Blanton Jr.

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