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AMOA Merges With Arthouse

An historic villa on AMOA's 12-acre property at Laguna Gloria
Photo by manue_aka_crazeecrafteez
An historic villa on AMOA's 12-acre property at Laguna Gloria

They’ve been seeing each other for a few months now. A photo exhibit here. Some intimate conversations there. Now it’s official: The Austin Museum of Artand the Arthouseat the Jones Center are getting hitched.

The boards of both organizations approved the merger, and hope to save more than $1 million in operating costs in the first year.

The new organization will own AMOA’s1912 villa on the 12-acre Laguna Gloria site next to Lake Austin. It will also own the Arthouse at the Jones Center’s exhibition space at 700 Congress Avenue.

AMOA's bank account grew significantly last year when it sold a vacant lot near Republic Square Park to Travis County for almost $22 million.

But actually hammering out the details of how to integrate day-to-day operations may prove to be a challenge, according to Claire Rudd at the Glasstire blog.

AMoA has been focused on attracting families with relatively traditional work, and Arthouse has been focused on attracting a young professional crowd with relatively contemporary work. AMoA has historically been a larger, more hierarchical organization, while Arthouse historically been a smaller, “flatter” organization.

Both organizations have had their share of problems recently, as Austin American-Statesman arts writer Jeanne Claire van Ryzin points out. Among other things, AMOA lost its executive director in January, and decided not to renew its lease at a Congress Ave. location it had rented since 1995, while the Arthouse recently trimmed its budget and laid off employees. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.