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AMOA-Laguna Gloria Art Museum

Aug 10, 2008
One of the most beautiful and popular art museums in the Austin Area is the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, which is an Italian style villa that was originally the home of Henry and Clara Driscoll Sevier, and is situated on the shores of Lake Austin in the west-central Austin area.

The original home that later became the museum was built in 1916, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places; the museum was the first home of the Austin Museum of Art and was named for the natural lagoon which was originally considered part of the Colorado River prior to the construction of Lake Austin. The land on which the original home was built belonged to Stephen F. Austin in 1822, and he intended to build a home there himself, but never did, and his descendants later sold the property to Hal Sevier, who was the editor of the Austin American Statesman, and his new wife, Clara Driscoll, in 1914.

The Seviers completed their home in 1916 in the style of an Italian Villa after traveling to the Lake Como area of Italy on their honeymoon, and after years of gardening and planting trees, flowers, and foliage, Clara Driscoll donated the homesite to the City of Austin for the new museum. In 1961, the home was converted to an art museum and began offering art classes as well as exhibits and other events and attractions to the public.

In 1983, an additional 5,300 square foot facility was built specifically for the art school, and in 1992, the museum changed its name from Laguna Gloria Museum to the Austin Museum of Art, although four years later the Austin Museum of Art relocated to Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Despite the move, Laguna Gloria remained home to the Art School, which in 2003 was renovated again and added exhibit halls featuring local and regional art, among other exhibits.

Laguna Gloria is right next door to Mayfield Park, a lovely park adjacent to the Driscoll Villa which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Laguna Gloria is located just west of the intersection of Loop One, also known as the Mopac Expressway, and West 35th Street, and is also very close to Camp Mabry, another local Austin attraction and historic military base. AMOA-Laguna Gloria, as it is now known, offers outdoor and indoor venues, and is situated on twelve acres of scenic and carefully landscaped grounds, a mile of which are on the shoreline of Lake Austin, and the museum is only 15 miles from downtown Austin and the main Austin Museum of Art structure on Congress.

Many weddings, concerts, parties, and other social functions are held at the museum and grounds, including numerous fundraisers for local charities such as AnyBabyCan and others. Since the museum has various event spaces including an amphitheater, sunken gardens, and a gazebo named the Temple of Love with an original rock trail and gorgeous walk to and from the museum proper, it is the perfect location for most outdoor as well as indoor events.

In addition to the above, there is also a four seasons garden with statues from Italy brought back by Clara Driscoll, and there is also a solarium on the grounds as well as a front oval lawn with a fountain for larger events. The sunken gardens include an original sculpture by local sculptor Charles Umlauf, who is now very well known nationally and is for whom Umlauf Gardens in Zilker Park was named.

AMOA-Laguna Gloria is a must-see location if art, natural beauty, and historic museums appeal to you, and it is also one of the most scenic and diverse locales for holding or attending an event or wedding, so be sure to visit Laguna Gloria and enjoy the many sculptures, exhibits, events, gardens and other attractions when in Austin or the surrounding area.
About the Author
Ki lives in Austin Texas. He maintains a site about Austin real estate with a graphical search of the Austin MLS and information about the new Austin condos being built in downtown Austin.
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