Continued from yesterday. If you want a tour of Clara Driscoll’s home, Laguna Gloria in Austin, show up on a Sunday. That’s the only day of the week a docent leads a tour and answers questions. The rest of the week you’ll be warmly greeted and given access to Clara’s house, but you’ll be on your own and won’t learn much about her. Laguna Gloria is on the other U.S. Colorado River at the base of Mount Bonnell not too far from downtown Austin. Don’t expect to see Clara and Hal’s possessions and furniture while there.
Laguna Gloria, Clara’s Italianate villa, has been turned into a contemporary art museum with changing exhibits, offices, and an art school. It’s owned by AMOA-Arthouse. Her garden and the rest of her property is now a sculpture park. Parking might be a problem in this neighborhood where “the Savior of the Alamo” lived. Clara imported the Roman fountain outside the door in the photo above, but that’s the most personal possession you’ll see. If you were invited to one of Clara’s balls, arrival by boat would be likely. Guests had to sail to Laguna Gloria via the Colorado River, which widens into a lake nearby.
The 12 acre grounds are now called the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park. This pleasant place attracts lots of locals and contains many contemporary pieces like “Watching”. This charming 2017 sculpture seen above was co-created by a Dane and a Norwegian whose names, Elmgreen and Dragset, I didn’t recognize. The walk to see the sculptures takes strollers like me close to the water and is alternately like being in a garden or in the woods.
I will not be surprised to find lots of changes if I get a chance to visit Laguna Gloria again. A Free Fun In Austin website highly recommends it. Another site called contemporaryaustin.org speaks of its future and a master plan. Phase 1 began in 2017, involves the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and seems to include visitor pavilions. One sign I read talked about a new arrival court with better parking. This will certainly help visitors and please Laguna Gloria’s neighbors.