The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum presents the artwork of Charles Umlauf and other artists in both a museum and garden setting. The UMLAUF provides educational and cultural experiences that encourage an understanding and appreciation of the intersection of nature, sculpture, and the arts.
The UMLAUF’s goal is to become the go-to place for Austin’s cultural arts scene and experiential activities.
In 1944, Charles and Angeline Umlauf bought a carriage house that became their home at the top of a hill overlooking Barton Springs Road. In 1985, they gifted their home, property, art studio, and 168 sculptures to the City of Austin. Landscape architect Aan Coleman designed the Garden and internationally recognized architect Lawrence Speck designed the UMLAUF’s gallery and terrace that opened in 1991. The Roberta Crenshaw learning center was added in 2001.
Since its founding just over 30 years ago, the UMLAUF has been committed to art education. As our collection and grounds have grown, so have our ambitions. The goal is to become one beautiful, approachable, and accessible venue with programmatic offerings to support the UMLAUF as a top destination in Austin.
The UMLAUF will become the arts destination in Austin to learn, play, and reflect. Our vision is to make the entire eight-acres accessible and available to the public by connecting Charles Umlauf’s artist studio, the Umlauf family home and property to the existing Museum and Sculpture Garden. We seek to improve the grounds, expand the permanent collection, and broaden our ability for rotating exhibitions and community activities. We will pursue community and other support to prepare for and expand the Museum.
As a culturally rich arts destination, the UMLAUF envisions using its expanded collection and facilities to increase awareness of Charles Umlauf’s impact and influence as an artist, educator, and philanthropist; and to honor the Umlauf family’s gift by providing experiences that include art in nature, immersive exhibitions and educational opportunities, health and wellness programs, a venue for gatherings and events, and a peaceful breathing space within an urban capital city.
The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum is representative of so much that is unique to Austin: excellent art that is set in a casual garden with native Texas plants. This natural oasis is located near Barton Springs and is only blocks away from the heart of an urban capital city.
This garden originally contained small ponds that were used by soldiers to practice fly casting in the late 1930s and 1940s; however, these four acres were then forgotten for the next four decades and became hidden under dewberry vines and illicit dumping.
History of the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum
In 1991, the property was transformed into a sculpture garden for the dozens of bronze and stone pieces that were given to the City of Austin by noted 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umlauf. Here, art and nature meet in serene harmony. The Garden provides visitors with a peaceful place to contemplate the sculptures or their own thoughts due to the waterfall and streams that muffle the sounds of traffic. The environment around each sculpture changes with each season. The Garden is welcoming and accessible in many different ways: Visitors in wheelchairs and parents with strollers use the gravel path laid out as a giant peace symbol; children explore the grounds with Sculpture Safaris in-hand, lightly touching the gleaming bronzes waxed for the visually impaired*; friends sit and talk on the secluded benches; The occasional dance or music performance is even more magical among the trees.
Eventually, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum will also include the sculptor’s personal sculpture garden located on two adjoining acres up the hill, overlooking the Garden’s grounds. Angeline Umlauf began creating this unique space in the early 1950s by planting native flowering shrubs around the sculptures that Charles moved out of his studio as he finished them. Their six children dug paths and edged them with stones they took out of the flower beds– it was because of their many guests’ enjoyment of their private garden that inspired Charles and Angeline Umlauf to give it, along with their home, his studio, and 168 pieces of sculpture, to the city they loved.
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