The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum exhibits the work of Charles Umlauf and other visual and performing artists in a museum and a garden setting. The UMLAUF provides educational and cultural experiences that encourage the understanding and appreciation of the intersection of nature, sculpture, and the arts.
Photo provided by Carla Umlauf
The UMLAUF's vision is to become the epicenter of Austin's cultural arts scene and of experiential activities available to our community.
In 1944, Charles and Angeline Umlauf purchased a carriage house that became their home at the top of a hill overlooking Barton Springs Road. In 1985, they gifted their home, property, his art studio and 168 sculptures to the City of Austin for public enjoyment and education. Landscape architect Aan Coleman designed the Garden and the internationally recognized architect Lawrence Speck designed the UMLAUF’s gallery and terrace that opened in 1991. The Roberta Crenshaw learning center was added to our site in 2001.
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.
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. We will pursue community and other support to prepare for and expand the Museum.
As a culturally rich arts destination, the UMLAUF envisions using its expanded collection and facilities to increase awareness of Charles Umlauf’s impact and influence as an artist, educator and philanthropist, and to honor the Umlauf family’s gift to the community by providing experiences that include art in nature, immersive exhibitions and educational opportunities, health and wellness programs, a venue for gatherings and events, and a peaceful breathing space within the heart of an urban capital city.
Eventually, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum will also include the sculptor's personal sculpture garden located on two adjoining acres up the hill, overlooking the Garden's grounds. Angeline Umlauf began creating this unique space in the early 1950s, planting native flowering shrubs around the sculptures that Charles moved out of his studio as he finished them. Their six children dug paths and edged them with stones they took out of the flower beds. It was the pleasure that their many guests experienced in their private garden that inspired Charles and Angeline Umlauf to give it, along with their home, his studio and 168 pieces of sculpture to the city they loved.
*The bronze sculptures in the garden have been waxed so all visitors can lightly touch the sculptures. The wax protects the bronze from being damaged by salts and oils on exploring fingers.
History of the UMLAUF
The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum represents so much that is quintessentially Austin: superb art casually set in a shady garden of native Texas plants, a natural oasis near Barton Springs and only blocks from the heart of an urban capital city.
Originally containing small ponds used by soldiers to practice fly casting during the late 1930s and 1940s, these four acres were then forgotten for the next four decades, lost under dewberry vines and illicit dumping.
In 1991, the property was transformed into a Sculpture Garden for the dozens of bronze and stone pieces given to the City of Austin by noted 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umlauf. There, art and nature meet in serene harmony. The Garden, with its waterfall and streams muffling the sounds of traffic, gives visitors a peaceful place in which to contemplate the sculptures or their own thoughts. As the seasons change, so does the natural environment around each sculpture. The Garden is welcoming and accessible in many different ways: Visitors in wheelchairs and parents with strollers use the gravel path laid out as a giant peace symbol; Children explore the grounds with Sculpture Searches in-hand, lightly touching the gleaming bronzes waxed for the visually impaired*; Friends sit and talk on the secluded benches; The occasional dance or music performance is even more magical among the trees.