Tucked into the riverside fauna of Zilker Park, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum is a quiet oasis in the middle of Austin’s bustling downtown scene. The Garden and museum offer a look into the life and repertoire of acclaimed sculptor and adopted Texan Charles Umlauf as well as rotating displays of both local and international artists’ works.
Umlauf, born in Michigan, moved to Texas in 1941 to accept a position at the University of Texas where he taught for 40 years. Umlauf and his wife, Angelen Allen Umlauf, donated their home, studio, and over one hundred works to the City of Austin resulting in the opening of the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum in 1991. Umlauf’s work can be seen all over Texas - he is the most-displayed sculptor in the state - as well as in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The museum, open six days a week offers an ethereal escape on any trip to Texas’s capital.
The Sculpture Garden plays a large role in the local community; offering yoga, crafting, and educational programs such as the Shaping Space outreach program dedicated to elementary and middle school students. The Garden also hosts Family Days the second Sunday of every month, opening their doors free of charge for an activity-filled day aimed toward making art more accessible to the local community. The UMLAUF recently expanded its long-running “Umlauf Prize” program, which was once exclusive to University of Texas MFA students. Now, any emerging artist in the Greater Austin area has the opportunity to enter to win a solo exhibition and a cash prize. Now, after 15 years of the prize being awarded to a top MFA student at the University of Texas, the Umlauf Prize has made itself more accessible by opening up submissions to any emerging artist in the Greater Austin area.
“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, connecting Charles Umlauf’s artist studio, the Umlauf family home and property to the existing Museum and Sculpture Garden. We seek to make improvements to the grounds, expand the permanent collection, and broaden our ability for rotating exhibitions and community activities.”
— Sarah Story, Executive Director.
Nestled in the heart of the “Live Music Capital of the World”, the Umlauf provides live music offerings of varying genres for concerts in the Garden throughout the year. Local artists fill the storybook-like paths with sound, making the grounds even more enchanting. The Live at the Umlauf and Umlauf After Dark programs combine Austin’s thriving music and arts communities offering concerts, dance and theatre performances, and more throughout the year. Executive Director Sarah Story says, “The Live at the Umlauf program is focused on relieving the arts venue crisis in Austin while creating new connections, activating the UMLAUF Garden in new and different ways, and providing high-quality entertainment for Austin.” The Garden has partnered with 6 local performing arts groups to create new activations in the garden over the next year. Partners will include: Performa/Dance, Panoramic Voices, Sky Candy, Austin Classical Guitar, Austin Shakespeare + more.
“Since its founding just over 30 years ago, the UMLAUF has been committed to art education in one of the most picturesque settings in Austin. As our collection and grounds have grown, so have our ambitions. The goal is to become one beautiful, approachable and accessible venue with a number of programmatic offerings to support the UMLAUF as a top destination in Austin for our community and visitors.
As the ever-changing landscape of downtown Austin and the surrounding areas continue to shift, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden remains an outlet for discovery, serenity, and inspiration for the local community and visitors alike. Upcoming exhibits include the Umlauf Prizewinner and a solo exhibition from Michael Ray Charles, coming this fall. For more information on current exhibitions, hours of operation, and upcoming events visit umlaufsculpture.org
605 Azie Morton Road, Austin, TX 78704 512.445.5582