Austin Museum of Art
AMOA-Arthouse, formerly known as the Austin Museum of Art, is divided between two venues. The first is Laguna Gloria, an historic site on Lake Austin, six miles (10 kilometers) northwest of downtown Austin. The second is the Jones Center, the more contemporary of the two venues, which is on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Both sites feature a wide range of art by Texan artists.
The museum's roots are at Laguna Gloria. Hal Sevier, a local newspaper editor, and his wife, Clara Driscoll, built the white, Mediterranean-style Driscoll Villa in 1916. Driscoll, a local hero in Austin for her philanthropy, later gifted it to the Texas Fine Arts Association because she wanted the people of Texas to discover and enjoy "the appreciation of art."
While visiting the villa, take a tour of the beautiful landscaped gardens spread across 12 acres (five hectares). These were a point of pride for Driscoll who was an avid gardener. There is also the Four Seasons Garden, a private garden Driscoll built to house a series of sculptures she bought in Venice. Join the Laguna Gloria Drop-in Tour on Saturday or Sunday; it's free with admission. If you're going with young kids, every second Saturday the museum puts on art-making classes inspired by the current exhibitions.
The Jones Center likes to push boundaries in contemporary artistic mediums such as video installation. This former department store and movie palace in the center of busy Austin now exhibits cutting-edge architecture and design. It also has regular film screenings and lectures on issues related to art and design.
The Jones Center, in central downtown Austin, is open Tuesday through Sunday. Laguna Gloria is about a 15-minute drive from downtown. Its galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, but you can enter the grounds seven days a week. Both sites are closed on national holidays, as well as Christmas Eve.