The Austin Texas metro-area might be smaller than other big Texas cities but there’s no doubt that it’s a vibrant center of Texas life and culture. The arts are thriving here thanks in part to a longstanding creative community a passion for arts music and everything creative and the draw and influence of the University of Texas.
That influence is most evident with one of the city’s cultural gems: the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin. Located on the UT campus the Blanton opened in May 2006 and is the largest university art museum in the country. Housed in an 180000-square foot two-building complex the Blanton Museum of Art has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas with more than 17000 works of art.
The Blanton Museum of Art’s permanent collection of more than 17000 works is recognized for its European paintings an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. Works include European Baroque and Italian Renaissance paintings by such masters as Sebastiano del Piombo Rubens Giulio Cesare Amidano and others; an American and Contemporary Art collection with more than 4000 paintings prints drawings sculptures and new media that cover the American West early American Modernism Pop Social Realism Abstract Expressionism and more; a 2000-plus Latin American art collection; more than 13000 prints and drawings from such diverse artists as Rembrandt Goya and Picasso – plus a host of rotating special exhibits throughout the year.
Along with the Blanton Museum of Art other Austin cultural gems on the University of Texas campus include The Harry Ransom Center the Briscoe Center for American History The University of Texas Press UT Libraries the Graduate School and the Michener Center for Writers.
Austin is also home to a number of public museums throughout the city as well as a host of private galleries including the Austin Children’s Museum Austin Nature and Science Center Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Elisabet Ney Museum Mexic-Arte Museum LBJ Library and Museum the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum and the Mexican-American Cultural Center. Visit www.inthegalleriesaustin.com for a complete list of cultural and creative visual arts venues.
Discover the best of high culture at the Austin Symphony Ballet Austin and Austin Lyric Opera along with ongoing music theater and dance presentations at University of Texas’ Performing Arts Center/Bass Concert Hall and The Frank Erwin Center both of which combine to bring great talent to Austin. The Austin Music Hall which was torn down expanded to a seating capacity of 4400 and re-opened at the end of 2007 offers yet another live music and performing arts venue.
The Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2008 and offers residents a vibrant community arts center – with top musical dance and dramatic performances for kids and adults alike. The historic Paramount Theater downtown and the One World Theater in the hills off Bee Caves Road host national regional and local productions and a huge variety of theater companies both small and large offer theater performances of every type including the Dougherty Arts Center Zachary Scott Theatre State Theatre Scottish Rite Children’s Theatre the Austin Playhouse at Penn Field Esther’s Follies and the Capitol City Comedy Club just to name a few.
Live Music Capital of the World
As the “Live Music Capital of the World” music is of course synonymous with the city. The clubs on Sixth Street are a major attraction as are major industry conferences like South by Southwest and NAMM – the trade association of the international music products industry which has held its annual conference in Austin Texas for the last several years.
For more than 30 years the national PBS series Austin City Limits was filmed and produced on the University of Texas campus by local public television station KLRU showcasing the best of American music and the thriving Texas and Austin music scene for millions of viewers worldwide. The new home for the filming and production of the show ACL Live at the Moody Theater is located adjacent to the W Hotel downtown and opened in 2011. It has become a popular performance venue – hosting acts from both the famed television show and the associated music festival Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Austin City Limits Music Festival launched in 2002 and is a huge draw each fall at Zilker Park attracting more than 70000 fans on each day of the three-day festival that enjoy more than 130 bands on eight stages. Thanks to ACL as it’s called and to the many musicians who live work and make music here Austin more than lives up to its musical nickname.
Music clubs line both the popular Sixth Street entertainment district and the Fourth Street Warehouse District as well as throughout the rest of the city. There’s an opportunity to hear live music any time of day here – from the local musicians who welcome visitors with daily concerts at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to the weekday lunchtime concerts in front of City Hall and the bars restaurants dance clubs and other entertainment options along and near Sixth Street and Congress Avenue and the thriving Second Street District.
The city is also a center for filmmaking and television nurturing local talents like now nationally known directors such as Richard Linklater Robert Rodriguez and Mike Judge and filmmaker Terence Malick. The variety of scenery and diverse natural environments in the area have made Austin the location for such Hollywood productions as Miss Congeniality Courage Under Fire The Alamo Hope Floats Michael all of Rodriguez’ Spy Kids films and the critically-acclaimed television series Friday Night Lights.