There are some things in life that are just better enjoyed outside.
A slow melting ice cream cone on a warm summer afternoon. A run with your favorite pooch after a long day at work. Larger-than-life art that is not only on display in beautiful fields and walking paths but installed on historic Texas land, as well.
The Contemporary Austin Laguna Gloria is home to some of the newest and most cherished contemporary art to come about in recent decades, including works from Marianne Vitale, John Grade and Charles Long. It’s one thing to experience art itself, it’s another to experience it in naturally planned locations, surrounded by bamboo, stories-high palm trees and calming Lake Austin waters.
Take a drive out to the Mount Bonnell area, past Mayfield Park and to the historic art museum for an invigorating day of art viewing, the Austin way. The building itself is a work of art, you can tell from the moment you drive up the circle driveway and onto the property.
You’ll be transported as you walk onto the lawn and into the gravel and stone-lined walkways; this very building was constructed in the Italian villa style, which was owned by Hal Sevier and his wife, Clara Driscoll. A honeymoon trip to Lake Como, Italy was all they needed for the inspiration for their new home, completed by 1916. Before that, the land belonged to property that was owned by Stephen F. Austin, upon which he had intended to one day build his house.
These days the museum is run by The Contemporary Austin, and over the years the museum has added art classes and facilities to the property to extend art education beyond simply viewing. You can take classes in classics such as watercolor, painting and collages, or hone your photography skills at the art school just down the way. Children and teens classes are also always popping up, so check back often for some of the most inspiring art education around.
The walk down the many winding paths and through the fields sets the mood for the amazing art you’re about to consume. Don’t rush an installation, sometimes you can find details dangling about like mobiles and sculptures in the trees.
If you look around you can spot colorful sculptures made of steel and brass just hanging around some of the more scenic spots on Lake Austin, and it’s always tempting to want to bring a blanket to make a day out of the trip.
Don’t forget to make a pass through the house itself, a wonderful place to explore when you want to learn a bit about the colorful history of Laguna Gloria. Their vintage tiles and impressive views over the front lawn perfectly complement the impressive art collections homed within, a wonderful way to spend any afternoon. Guided tours are also available to interested art goers.
Tuesday- Saturday: 11-7 pm
Sunday: noon-5 pm