San Antonio's McNay Art Museum embarks on first phase of campus improvements
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San Antonio's McNay Art Museum embarks on first phase of campus improvements

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The first phase of a multi-million dollar landscape transformation plan for San Antonio's McNay Art Museum has been unveiled, with outdoor works of art, increased accessibility and aesthetic fencing to replace the existing tall boundary hedges planned for the Texas attraction.

The US$6.25m (€5.7m, £5.1m) plan has been drawn up by Brooklyn and Boston landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, plus Texas-based partners in architects Ford, Powell & Carson, and urban landscape architects studio dwg. Construction is being carried out by San Antonio-based G.W. Mitchell, with this phase due to be completed by Q2 of 2020.

Through the plans, the museum's 23-acre grounds will feature floral displays, dozens of native and drought-resistant trees, scenic walkways, meditative seating areas and enhanced lighting. There will also be increased pedestrian, bike and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access.

An adjacent area of greenspace at the intersection of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels has been acquired and is being absorbed into the McNay campus. Following a US$2m (€1.8m, £1.6m) gift from the Mays Family Foundation, this area will be known as the Mays Family Park, and will feature Ascent, a monument by Russian-born American sculptor Alexander Liberman, as well as additional outdoor works of art and some new landscaping.

Entrances to the museum from Austin Highway and North New Braunfels will be "reimagined", with enhanced signage, plantings, walkways and new roads, creating easier and safer traffic flows, while Philip Grausman's stainless steel Victoria sculpture, formerly located near the Austin Highway entrance, will be relocated closer to the museum's entrance.

Further donations have come from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation (US$1m (€900,000, £800,000)), as well as US$500,000 (€454,000, £405,000) from the Frost Family and Frost Bank, and the same sum from the Semmes Foundation.

A second phase of the landscape redevelopment is in the early stages of planning, while a "beautification" fund has been set aside to ensure that plantings are maintained for the next decade.

The McNay Art Museum is located at the former house of artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, who opened it and her modern art collection up to the public in 1954. Receiving around 200,000 visitors a year, it houses works of art by the likes of van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Gauguin and Jackson Pollock. The museum will remain open throughout the first phase of construction, using intermittent entrance detours as needed.

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The first phase of a multi-million dollar landscape transformation plan for San Antonio's McNay Art Museum has been unveiled, with outdoor works of art, increased accessibility and aesthetic fencing to replace the existing tall boundary hedges planned for the Texas attraction.
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