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Blanton Museum of Art names second building in museum complex for Edgar A. Smith

The Blanton Museum of Art will name the second structure in its two-building complex for Edgar A. Smith, a Houston businessman and alumnus who donated $4.5 million.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The Blanton Museum of Art will name the second structure in its two-building complex for Edgar A. Smith, a Houston businessman and alumnus who donated $4.5 million.

The museum’s Education and Visitor Pavilion will be named the Edgar A. Smith Building. Smith pledged the $4.5 million gift with naming rights on the condition that the money be matched by other contributors. The challenge has been successfully met with the gift amounting to $9.2 million.

View of the new Blanton Museum complex

Watercolor rendering, Elizabeth Day, 2005.

Smith is an alumnus of the university and serves on the Chancellor’s Council. A veteran of the oil and gas industry in Houston, he is active in the city’s business, social and philanthropic communities. The university has benefited greatly from an endowed chair and professorship in the School of Business and two endowed fellowships in the School of Nursing, funded in prior years by Edgar and his late wife, Molly.

The Edgar A. Smith Building is the second of a new two-building museum complex and is scheduled to open in 2007.

“We are honored to have the name of Edgar A. Smith join those of Jack Blanton and James Michener as the anchoring names of our wonderful new museum,” said Museum Director Jessie Otto Hite. “Mr. Smith’s generous gift is a marvelous capstone to our principal naming efforts.”

The Blanton will celebrate the grand opening of the first building, the Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building, on April 29–30. Situated adjacent to a grand, open plaza, the Edgar A. Smith Building will be a hub of social and educational events and activities. The 56,000-square-foot building will house a 300-seat auditorium, a 60-seat lecture hall, several classrooms, a stylish café and the museum shop.

When asked about his donation, Mr. Smith remarked, “We need to help to improve and strengthen education and to challenge other universities to do the same.”

The Blanton has also received $1 million from Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long, well-known Austin philanthropists and alumni of the university. The foyer of the newly named Edgar A. Smith Building will be named the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Grand Foyer in recognition of the couple’s gift.

Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long are long-time residents of Austin and supporters of the arts. Both are highly involved in the university and Austin communities. Distinguished alumni of the university, each served on the Commission of 125—a group of citizens convened in 2005 to express a vision of how The University of Texas can best serve Texas and society during the next 25 years. In addition to being members the Chancellor’s Council and the Littlefield Society, Joe serves on the University Development Board and Teresa serves on the College of Education Advisory Council. The Teresa Lozano Long Center for Latin American Studies was named in honor of Ms. Long in November 2000. The Long Center for the Performing Arts, a new venue for the arts along Town Lake in Austin, is under construction and well on its way to opening in spring 2008.

In addition to the gifts by Smith and the Longs, the museum has announced another major naming gift of $1 million recently received from Julius and Suzan Glickman. The galleries holding the museum’s renowned collection of prints and drawings will be named for the Glickmans.

Julius and Suzan Glickman are both university alumni and Julius sits on the Blanton Museum Council as well as serving as a member of the Commission of 125, the Chancellor’s Council and the University Development Board. He is the managing partner of Glickman and Hughes, LLP in Houston, where he and Suzan are active supporters of the arts.

With these gifts, the museum is now within $1 million of the original goal of $83.5 million for completion of the museum complex.

I am so grateful that the Longs and the Glickmans have stepped forward to add their names, along with Ed Smith, to the museum and have put us within reach of our original fund-raising goal,” said Hite. “Both the Long and Glickman name are synonymous with cultural undertakings in both Austin and Houston and at The University of Texas. Now they will be remembered and honored for generations to come at the Blanton Museum of Art.”

Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the foremost university art museums in the country with the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. The Blanton’s permanent collection of more than 17,000 works is recognized for its European Old Master paintings, modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, and an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings.

The Blanton welcomes and engages all visitors by offering personal, extraordinary experiences that connect art and ideas, reaching within and beyond campus to stimulate the thriving, creative community that is Austin, Texas. In April 2006 the Blanton enters a new era in its new home at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue, which brings the museum’s collections, programs and visitor amenities together under one roof for the first time. At the edge of the university campus in downtown Austin, the new museum complex will frame dramatic views of the State Capitol to the south and the university to the north, building a gateway between the university and the city.

For more information contact: Sheree Scarborough, 512-475-6784; Brady Dyer, 512-232-5171, Blanton Museum of Art.