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Famed San Antonio art museum draws plans for multimillion-dollar transformation

San Antonio museum draws plans for multimillion-dollar transformation

McNay renovations aerial view
The McNay's renovation will be a multi-part process. Rendering courtesy of McNay Art Museum
McNay renovations aerial view
The greenspace between Austin Highway and North New Braunfels Avenue will become the Mays Family Park. Rendering courtesy of McNay Art Museum
McNay renovations aerial view
A 10-year beautification fund has also been established. Rendering courtesy of McNay Art Museum
McNay renovations aerial view
McNay renovations aerial view
McNay renovations aerial view

A San Antonio treasure is about to undergo a glossy — and expensive — new renovation. On September 4, the McNay Art Museum announced it will embark on a $6.25 million master plan to further enhance the Alamo Heights property.

Calling the Landscape Master Plan "transformative," the museum hopes to enhance visitors' indoor-outdoor experience, adding additional works of art, “invisible” fencing, new landscaping, and increased pedestrian, bike, and ADA accessibility around the grounds. Drought-resistant plants and fencing will also replace the tall hedges that currently border the museum grounds.

“By physically opening up the McNay to our entire community, we are honoring the legacy of our founder,” said  McNay director Richard Aste in a release. Aste notes how during World War II, Marion Koogler McNay opened the doors to her beautiful 1929 estate in order to share her massive modern art collection with San Antonians.

"Seventy-five years later, her commitment to excellence and inclusion have helped position the McNay for the next all-embracing chapter," he continues. Construction on that first chapter is currently underway and will open in spring 2020.

Other enhancements include the creation of the Mays Family Park in honor of the family's $2 million gift. The McNay will incorporate the current greenspace at the intersection of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels Avenue. Once open, the Mays Family Park will house Alexander Liberman's Ascent, the McNay's trademark orange-red sculpture.

“The McNay has always been very special. Since its origins as a home in 1929, it has been an artistic force in our community," said Peggy Pitman Mays, McNay trustee emeritus and head of the Mays Family Foundation. “The Mays Family Foundation is honored to help bring the Museum’s two loves — art and education — to all of San Antonio through an even more inclusive experience.”

The Mays Family Foundation was joined by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the Frost family and Frost Bank, and Semmes Foundation, Inc. as major donors in the project.

According to the McNay, the $6.25 million also includes a 10-year beautification fund to ensure that the new landscaping is protected and cultivated. Details on phase two of the Landscape Master Plan are currently being drawn up and made available to the public at a later date.