The Contemporary Austin Receives a Transformative $9-Million Grant From the Betty and Edward Marcus Foundation

Landmark Gift Moves The Contemporary Austin Rapidly Toward its Goal of Becoming an Unparalleled Outdoor-Indoor Museum for Outstanding New Works of Art

Sep 10, 2013, 12:01 ET from The Contemporary Austin

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Melba Whatley, chair of the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, announced today a $9-million grant from the Dallas-based foundation. The Marcus Foundation awarded The Contemporary Austin the grant through a selective competition. Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler executive director of The Contemporary Austin, accepted the gift on behalf of the museum and stated that it will help transform the organization into an unparalleled outdoor-indoor art destination.

Approximately $5 million of the grant will fund the commissioning and acquisition of sculpture and site-specific permanent installations by some of today's leading artists, to be shown outdoors at the 12-acre lakeside estate of Laguna Gloria, one of The Contemporary's two venues. In recognition of the Foundation's generosity, this major feature of Laguna Gloria will be named the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park. Another $2 million will be dedicated to an endowment for the permanent maintenance and conservation of the works in the Sculpture Park, and $2 million will fund a series of commissions, exhibitions and public engagements for The Contemporary's program at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park.

"Were they here today, Betty and Edward Marcus would applaud Louis Grachos and his great eye, his assured professional leadership and high standards, the mission of contemporary art, the drive to achieve excellent governance and the emphasis on Austin and the whole world," Whatley said. "As trustees of their foundation, we can hardly believe that it is still possible to create a permanent sculpture park in Betty and Eddie's honor, which will be distinguished by great landscape and filled with the greatest art of our time."

Founded by Betty Marcus, the Marcus Foundation has provided more than 125 grants to support the visual arts throughout Texas, with the majority of this funding dedicated to visual arts education. In early 2013, the trustees initiated a selective competition for its $9 million corpus to be granted to "the Texas institution that proposes the most innovative, visionary visual arts initiative for the future."

"Betty and Edward Marcus will always be remembered as the trailblazers for contemporary art in Dallas," Grachos said. "Even though they went far beyond the visual arts in their philanthropy, they especially embraced the immediate creativity of living artists and the vibrancy that contemporary art can instill in a community. We are tremendously grateful to the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation for recognizing the extraordinary potential of our new mission at The Contemporary Austin and for moving us ahead by a giant step."

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SOURCE The Contemporary Austin