In celebration of the Blanton Museum of Art’s 50th anniversary, all are invited to Fifty Fest, a free birthday party from noon to midnight on Saturday, April 27. The event will feature live music, art-making activities, family programs and exhibition tours, and will serve as the public launch of the museum’s new brand and graphic identity. As the culmination of a series of special programs— including the museum’s 50th Anniversary Gala and current exhibition, Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections—Fifty Fest commemorates the Blanton’s impressive legacy and bright and exciting future.
The festival will take place in the Blanton’s two-building complex and outdoor plaza. Partygoers can enjoy live performances by the nationally notorious T Bird and the Breaks plus local favorites Brownout, Navasota Strings, The Ransom Notes, DJ Tarek, and Minor Mishap Marching Band, among others. Guests are encouraged to explore the nearly 200 masterworks spanning ancient to contemporary art in Through the Eyes of Texas as part of a guided tour or on their own. Designed especially for families, the Blanton will offer Story Time in English and Spanish – read by Univision personalities Gustavo Monsante, Regina Rodriguez, and William Castro– as well as tours with costumed characters.
A highlight among the festival’s many art activities will be a T-shirt screen-printing station with Industry Print Shop. For just $5, visitors can select one of four local artist designs and watch as the team creates a one-of-a-kind shirt. Other hands-on activities include an Art Lab in the museum’s Smith Building, where visitors can create miniature sculptures in glass jars using a wide range of materials.
Visitors to Fifty Fest will be the first to preview new Blanton programming designed to highlight how the museum can function as a site for creativity. In Creative Connections for example, musicians, poets, and other members of the creative community will present artistic responses to works in the Blanton’s collection and provide visitors with an inside look at their creative processes. The Texas Reed Trio, featuring musicians from UT’s Butler School of Music, will open up their rehearsal to the public at 1pm, and immediately following, Donald Grantham, composer of Music for the Blanton and Steve Parker, artistic director of the acclaimed SoundSpace series, will discuss the ways in which music can respond to visual art. Another program will feature poetry readings by Vive Griffith, Jenny Browne, and others who have written poems in response to art in the Blanton’s collection, and at 4pm, Nic Nicosia, a Santa Fe-based conceptual artist and photographer whose work is on display in Through the Eyes of Texas, will discuss his artistic process. (Nicosia’s work is featured in the collections of MoMA, the Guggenheim, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and Museum of Fine Arts Houston, among others.)
Beyond the art-making activities, guided tours, and can’t-miss musical performances, visitors can capture their Fifty Fest experience in free photo booths, purchase tasty treats from some of Austin’s favorite food trucks, and enter to win prizes from community partners every hour on the hour from noon to midnight.
Schedule of Activities
Enter to win prizes from community partners, including Alamo Drafthouse, Austin Film Festival, Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, Book People, Conspirare, Hey Cupcake!, Hey Gorgeous, KLRU, KUT/KUTX, Texas Performing Arts, Texas Rowing Center, Tribeza, UT Press, and W Hotel Austin.
12 to4 p.m.
T-shirt screen-printing with Industry Print Shop (while supplies last), Art Lab, Creative Connections in the Blanton Auditorium (1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm), Temporary Tattoos, Story Time, Character Tours for Families, Adult Guided Tours, Photo Booth (1-4pm), Music in the Galleries, Music on the Plaza
Dock & Roll Diner and Ice Cream Social food trucks will be parked at the museum
4 to 7 p.m.
Art Lab, Music in the Galleries, Music on the Plaza, Guided Tours, Photo Booth, T-shirt screen-printing with Industry Print Shop (until 6pm, while supplies last), Happy Hour Creativity Station
Chi’Lantro and Cow Tipping Creamery food trucks will be parked at the museum
7 p.m. to midnight
Music in the Galleries, Music on the Plaza, Adult Guided Tours, Photo Booth, Indoor Member Lounge, Complimentary Lite Bites, Cash Bar
7:30 p.m. – Brownout performs
10:00 p.m. – T Bird and the Breaks perform
Chi’Lantro and Cow Tipping Creamery food trucks will be parked at the museum (until 8pm)
Blanton Museum of Art
Founded in 1963, the Blanton Museum of Art is one of the foremost university art museums in the country and holds the largest public collection in Central Texas. Recognized for its modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, the Blanton offers thought provoking, visually arresting, and personally moving encounters with art.
The museum is located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue and is open Tuesday though Friday from 10 – 5, Saturday from 11-5, and Sunday from 1-5. Thursdays are free admission days and every third Thursday the museum is open until 9. Admission Prices: Adults $9, Kids 12 and under FREE, Seniors (65+) $7, Youth/College Students (13-21) $5. Admission is free to members, and all current UT ID-holders. For additional information call (512) 471-7324 or visit www.blantonmuseum.org.