Still Water Foundation gives $10 million to UT for public art, Blanton Museum

Left: Ellsworth Kelly, Austin, 2015, artist-designed building with installation of colored glass windows, black and white marble panels, and redwood totem. ©Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. Photo courtesy Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. Right: Nancy Rubins, Monochrome for Austin, 2015. Photo by Paul Bardagjy. Courtesy of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.

The Austin-based Still Water Foundation gave $10 million to University of Texas with the Blanton Museum of Art and Landmarks, the university’s public art program, each receiving $5 million, university official announced today.

The $5 million to the Blanton goes to support the museum’s master plan for its transformation of the grounds surrounding the Blanton complex on the south edge of the UT complex. A year ago, the Moody Foundation, in one of the largest single donations Austin arts community, donated $20 million to the Blanton’s master plan project, which aims to correct the awkward site plan of the museum’s two buildings and create a more versatile space for public programming.

Related read: Moody Foundation gives $20 million to Blanton Museum of Art

Landmarks, the university’s public art program, will use its Still Water grant of $5 million to establish an operating endowment, a cornerstone gift to an upcoming endowment campaign. Each grant includes a $2 million challenge match that has been designated to inspire additional support.

A private family foundation, Still Water is based in Austin and primarily supports organizations in Texas. The foundation’s main areas of concentration include the arts, education and the environment, and it also partners with rural communities, particularly those in West Texas.

“In making these gifts, our hope is to raise the visibility of the visual arts on campus and to encourage broad participation in the fundraising campaigns,” said Jill Wilkinson, president of the Still Water Foundation. “These programs are jewels in our community that all of us should be excited to experience and support.”

The foundation has long supported the Blanton’s noted print collection. The museum’s Julia Matthews Wilkinson Center for Prints and Drawings houses the museum’s collections, as well as curatorial offices, a preparator’s workspace, and a small reference library.

“The Still Water Foundation’s profound investment will bring visionary new artwork and landscaping to the outdoor spaces of our campus,” UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves said in a statement. “The Still Water Foundation is leaving their own creative imprint on our historic campus, one that will be appreciated and enjoyed by students, scholars and visitors at UT for decades to come.”

Disclosure: Sightlines receives funding from the Still Water Foundation