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The Contemporary Austin-Laguna Gloria

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Large-scale art installations have enhanced the allure of of Laguna Gloria.

For millennia, the peninsula bordered by a lagoon and the Colorado River has held allure. Archaeological evidence reveals that American Indian tribes sought out the site. In the 1830s, Texas co-founder Stephen F. Austin bought the property intending to build a home.

And then in 1914 arts patron Clara Driscoll and her husband, statesman and newspaper publisher Henry “Hal” Sevier, bought the site, building an Italianate villa and gardens and naming the place Laguna Gloria.

For decades, Laguna Gloria and its grounds acted as a modest home to the Austin Museum of Art.

But last year, the museum re-emerged as the Contemporary Austin, began a landscape renewal project and established the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park with a focus on site-specific contemporary sculpture.

Now, the place has allure like never before.

Intriguing large-scale installations take up residence in surprising place such as the amphitheatre. Or sometimes adventuresome sound art happenings lead visitors on acoustically creative journeys along the trails.

With its combination of natural beauty, historic architecture and fresh contemporary art, Laguna Gloria invites repeated visits.

`The Contemporary Austin-Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. 512-458-8191, www.thecontemporaryaustin.org