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McNay Art Museum breaks ground on $6.25 million landscape master plan
Ariel View From Mansion Looking South.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The McNay Art Museum’s commitment to engaging a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts is reaching new heights with the announcement of a $6.25 million Landscape Master Plan. This transformative plan will activate and enhance the outdoor Museum experience with additional works of art, “invisible” fencing, new landscaping, and increased accessibility—ensuring everyone feels welcome and at home at the first modern art museum in Texas.

“By physically opening up the McNay to our entire community, we are honoring the legacy of our founder,” said Richard Aste, McNay Director. “During World War II, when our country needed more beauty and inspiration than ever, Marion Koogler McNay shared her home and world-renowned modern art collection with students and soldiers across San Antonio. Seventy-five years later, her commitment to excellence and inclusion have helped position the McNay for the next all-embracing chapter.”

Phase I construction is underway and slated for completion by Spring of 2020. The existing tall hedges along the edge of the property will be replaced with aesthetic fencing and native drought-resistant plantings, creating even easier access to the McNay’s original 1929 residence. The Museum will remain fully open throughout construction and will utilize intermittent entrance detours as needed.

As part of the plan, the greenspace at the intersection of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels is being absorbed into the McNay campus. This area will be known as the Mays Family Park in honor of the generous $2 million lead gift from the Mays Family Foundation. The Park will feature the Museum’s monumental masterpiece, Ascent, by the Russian-born American sculptor Alexander Liberman, as well as additional outdoor works of art and landscaping that will enhance the overall visitor experience.

“The McNay has always been very special,” said Peggy Pitman Mays, McNay Trustee Emeritus and Head of the Mays Family Foundation. “Since its origins as a home in 1929, it has been an artistic force in our community. As a museum, it became an educational force, too, particularly in the 1960s when the Docent Program was established. Today, the Mays Family Foundation is honored to help bring the Museum’s two loves—art and education—to all of San Antonio through an even more inclusive experience.”

The McNay is grateful for additional major funding of $1 million from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation; $500,000 from the Frost Family and Frost Bank; and $500,000 from the Semmes Foundation, Inc.

“So many entities rebrand but nothing really changes,” said Tullos Wells, Managing Director of the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. “We have been honored to invest in support of the truly transformational work that Rich Aste and his Board are providing for our entire community. If you have not recently been to the McNay, you need to go re-learn the McNay.”

Vibrant florals, dozens of native and drought-resistant trees, scenic walkways, meditative seating areas, and enhanced lighting will activate the Museum's 23-acre grounds. Increased pedestrian, ADA, and bike access will connect guests to a greater exploration of all the Museum has to offer—indoors and out.

“This moment honors the legacy and spirit of my father, Tom Frost, and his priceless contributions to this beloved San Antonio institution as a Lifetime Trustee and Chairman of the Board," said Don Frost, Executive Vice President, Frost Capital Markets. “The Frost family has always championed the McNay as a community oasis of peace, beauty, hope, and inspiration. This long-held vision will now be realized in an even greater way for every member of our community.”

The North New Braunfels and Austin Highway entrances will be reimagined with enhanced signage, plantings, walkways, and new roads, creating easier and safer two-way traffic. The stainless-steel Victoria sculpture by Philip Grausman formerly located near the Austin Highway entrance will relocate closer to the Museum entrance.

“The McNay has always been a destination for beauty and inspiration,” said Cory Albracht, Executive Director, Semmes Foundation, Inc. “Semmes Foundation, Inc. is honored to help take this San Antonio treasure to new heights for the great benefit of the entire community.”

A 10-year beautification fund is also included in the Phase I project cost to ensure all plantings are maintained for the next decade.

The Museum would like to thank Brooklyn and Boston based landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. for their initial vision for this plan. We would also like to thank our Texas partners: San Antonio-based architects Ford, Powell & Carson; Austin-based urban landscape architect studio dwg; and San Antonio-based construction firm G.W. Mitchell for their help in bringing the vision to life.

Phase II of the Landscape Master Plan is in early development. Information will be shared publicly when available.

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September 5, 2019

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