Umlauf Sculpture Garden
“The Austin Community Foundation has been the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum’s partner from the very beginning,” says Nina Seely, Executive Director. “Our relationship with the Foundation has helped to secure support for our mission, our programming and the impact that we make on the lives of others who would not otherwise experience art in nature, and to appreciate sculpture through the work of Charles Umlauf.”
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is a lush, peaceful oasis in the middle of the city; eight acres of native flowering shrubs, water features, and exquisite sculptures are one of Austin’s greatest treasures. Showcasing the work of 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf and other contemporary artists, the museum embodies a theme of art framed by nature.
For decades Umlauf created his artwork in the hilltop studio overlooking the gardens, as the city grew around him. In 1985, he and his wife Angeline gifted the city with 168 sculptures, along with the deed to his home, studio and 2.5 acres of property to share with the public.
Under the leadership of Austin community leader and philanthropist Roberta Crenshaw, a fund was created at the Foundation to receive money raised for the construction of the visitor center and museum and development of six additional acres of the site. The museum opened in 1991.
Today, gravel walkways meander through the property, allowing visitors to stroll in serenity and discover the pieces like an artistic treasure hunt in which all the senses are engaged.
Although Umlauf died in 1994, his legacy is strong. Future goals for the museum include opening the art studio and family home to the public, as well as additional exhibition and event space, a café and more culturally diverse programs.
“My grandparents were visionaries who saw the importance of collaboration to bring about meaningful change to a city they loved so much,” says Carla Umlauf, chair of the museum’s board and the sculptor’s granddaughter. “Austin Community Foundation has consistently honored their legacy gift to the City of Austin.”