American sculptor Charles Umlauf creates dozens of works during his time in Austin. To say thanks for the inspiration, he and his wife Angeline left 168 of those masterpieces to the city—many of which can be seen in The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. Here, streams muffle nearby traffic as visitors tread gravel pathways laid out in a peace symbol and study sculptures bearing Umlauf's lyrical style.
When Archer M. Huntington donated 4,000 acres of land to The University of Texas at Austin, it was no surprise that the husband to renowned sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington stipulated it be used to support an art museum. Today, Blanton Museum of Art?named Best Museum in the Austin Chronicle's 2013 Best of Austin Readers' Poll?honors Archer's request by providing access to more than 17,000 works and a variety of rotating exhibitions. The museum's collection of prints, paintings, and sculptures comprises more than 4,000 pieces from America and 1,800 from Latin America, and it even includes the Suida-Manning Collection?a group of 230 paintings and 400 drawings by Baroque and Renaissance masters that was much sought after by other museums, according to Frommer's. With these pieces as backdrop, the museum hosts Third Thursday events such as artist talks and Yoga in the Galleries, the latter of which finds instructors twisting sculptures into poses that will be easier on their spines.
1020 Glass Art and Decor takes its name from its mission to provide exquisite artwork to everyday people by often pricing its handmade glass creations between $10 and $20. Behind the downtown Austin’s space-age art-deco storefront, their sales team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable designers and art experts as they amass a collection of more than 5,000 glass vases, drink sets, bowls, figurines, and chandeliers. As a locally-owned business, 1020 takes pride in its community and boosts the city’s culture scene by employing 10 highly trained in-house art consultants. They also give back through charitable functions and support of area nonprofits, such as Project Transitions’s hospice and housing care for HIV and AIDS patients. The designers even show their love for their home state through their inventory, with a number of Texas-themed pieces available for purchase, such as a majestic longhorn steer, a golden-horn wine stopper, or a miniaturized Lyle Lovett imprisoned in a crystal paperweight.
More than 500 animals inhabit the grounds at Capital of Texas Zoo, a haven for wildlife education and a breeding ground for more than 14 endangered species. The zoo's residents include zebras, ringtail lemurs, and a rare white tiger, not to be confused with a ghost tiger. Other appearances from the animal kingdom include peacocks, kangaroos, turtles, and lions.
Educational animal shows highlight a specific member of the zoo, such as the Wings show, which stars eurasian eagle owl Hedwig, who has made appearances on Late Show with David Letterman and in the movie Furry Vengeance. The zoo also takes to the road with traveling animal shows that involve a cast of six exotic reptiles, mammals, and birds, which makes appearances at birthday parties, schools, or events. With lessons catered to the age of the audience, the animals teach children to respect other living things and remind adults why they can?t keep falcons as pets.
Austin Zoo originated as Good Day Ranch in 1990 featuring pony rides and goat-milking demonstrations. Over the next four years, the founders began rescuing exotic animals and evolving into a rescue center, renaming the facility under its current moniker. After becoming a safe haven for more than 300 rescued animals of more than 100 different species, the Austin Zoo began the process of becoming a nonprofit organization, which it completed in 2000. Housed in native Texas Hill Country enclosures, the animals can enjoy real grass and landscaping instead of concrete exhibits or studio apartments. African lions and Bengal tigers stretch out in the big cat habitats while colobus monkeys and a marmoset swing from tree to tree in monkey areas. In addition to wild creatures, the zoo houses domesticated animals such as a miniature donkey, potbellied pigs, and llamas.
Every year, more than 75,000 visitors?from schoolchildren to serious art collectors?visit the Mexic-Arte Museum in downtown Austin.
They come to see the innovative exhibitions, explore the collections, and soak up the resources that have made the museum a go-to source for educational and cultural programming. Designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican-American Fine Art Museum of Texas, Mexic-Arte was founded by a group of artists in 1984; it's one of the few museums in the United States dedicated to Mexican art. Mexic-Arte showcases the works of both established and emerging artists from Mexico, the United States, and Latin America, allowing them to reach a large audience without having to create extra-large pieces to unravel from the tops of nearby skyscrapers.