The McNay Art Museum finishes Phase 1 of landscape master plan

New outdoor sculptures and new landscaping are part of a $6.25 million revamp of McNay Art Museum's outdoor experience. (Courtesy McNay Art Museum)
New outdoor sculptures and new landscaping are part of a $6.25 million revamp of McNay Art Museum's outdoor experience. (Courtesy McNay Art Museum)

New outdoor sculptures and new landscaping are part of a $6.25 million revamp of McNay Art Museum's outdoor experience. (Courtesy McNay Art Museum)

The McNay Art Museum recently announced the completion of Phase 1 of the museum’s landscape master plan.

Officials with the Terrell Hills-area cultural institution said the transformation enhances the McNay’s outdoor atmosphere with a new sculpture, reimagined fencing, sustainable landscaping, and increased accessibility.

“We are already seeing the positive impact of a more inclusive, open campus in our community, and we’re just getting started,” McNay director and CEO Richard Aste said in a news release.

According to the release, the museum replaced dense hedges along the edge of the property with see-through fencing and native drought-resistant landscaping to increase the museum’s visibility from the street.

Phase 1 of the master plan has introduced 142 new trees and 7,892 shrubs, ornamental grasses, and perennials across 40 species of native and adapted plant material throughout the museum grounds.



A beautification fund chaired by McNay trustee Amy Stieren was raised to ensure all plantings are maintained for the next five years, the release stated.

Additionally, 2 acres of greenspace that previously existed at the intersection of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels Avenue now connects to the grounds, extending the museum’s footprint from 23 to 25 acres, the release stated.

An additional area contains the Mays Family Park, which was funded by a $2 million gift from the Mays Family Foundation. The park offers a 360-degree viewing experience of Alexander Liberman’s monumental sculpture, “Ascent,” the release stated.

The McNay also installed four new outdoor sculptures over the last two years: “The Sole Sitter” by Willie Cole, “Standing Tulip” by Tom Wesselmann, “Hashtag-Orange” by Alejandro Martín, and “Deer” by Tony Tasset. The “Victoria” sculpture by Philip Grausman was relocated to the museum’s renovated Austin Highway entrance.

Both campus entrances were revamped with new entry and exit gates, enhanced signage and lighting, and wider roads to make two-way traffic safer, according to the release.

The Austin Highway entrance is now called the Russell Hill Rogers Sculpture Gateway, and visitors entering the campus from North New Braunfels now drive in on Tom Frost Way in honor of the McNay’s late board chair.

“This moment honors the legacy and spirit of my father and his vision for what this beloved institution could become,” McNay Board President Don Frost said in the release. “The support for the first phase of this ongoing project has been strong, and it reflects the commitment of our trustees and major donors to bringing transformational art experiences to our entire community.”

The $6.25 million total project was funded with $1 million from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, $500,000 from the Frost family and Frost Bank, and $500,000 from the Semmes Foundation, the release stated.

Phase 2 of the landscape master plan is in development, and updates will be shared when available, the release stated.

By Edmond Ortiz
Edmond joined Community Impact as a reporter in August 2021, helping to launch new editions in the San Antonio market. Edmond covers various beats in the North San Antonio coverage area. He previously was the main reporter for Local Community News, covering several areas in and around San Antonio, first as a freelancer and then staff member. Prior to that, Edmond was a community news reporter for Prime Time Newspapers and the San Antonio Express-News, including editing two community weeklies. He's a San Antonio native, and studied mass communications at San Antonio College and Texas State University.