McNay Art Museum Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

by Jessica Fuentes January 23, 2024

The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio will be celebrating its 70th anniversary throughout 2024 with an array of events, programs, and activations.

A photograph of the exterior of the McNay Art Museum.

McNay Art Museum

The building, which was originally home to Marion Koogler McNay, a San Antonio artist, educator, and art collector, was built in the late 1920s and opened as a museum in 1954. The year of anniversary events will begin on February 8 with a Founder’s Day celebration in honor of Ms. McNay’s birthday. The day will include an architecture tour, a watercolor painting workshop, and a talk by Lyle Williams, the museum’s Curator of Prints and Drawings, Curator of Modern Art.

In a press release, Matthew McLendon, Director and CEO of the McNay, stated, “Throughout our 70-year history, the McNay has brought the very best of modern and contemporary art to San Antonio, beginning with its founding collection: the bequest from Marion Koogler McNay. This special milestone year is a moment to reflect on our legacy as the first dedicated modern art museum in Texas and to look ahead at the extraordinary possibilities for learning, innovation, and impact.”

As part of the yearlong celebration, the museum has also debuted McNay Stories, a video series that shares stories and experiences from a variety of perspectives about the museum’s history. The first video features Mr. Williams speaking about the museum’s relationship with art collector and San Antonio native John M. Parker, Jr., who has gifted the museum more than 200 works of minimalist and conceptualist printmaking. Pieces from the 2023 bequest of Mr. Parker are currently on view at the McNay’s Lawson Print Gallery through March 3, 2024. The McNay Stories series will be available via the museum’s YouTube channel and will be shared through the institution’s email newsletter. 

Other scheduled events include the McNay’s 70th Anniversary Gala, which will take place on Wednesday, February 28 and will celebrate the opening of the exhibition de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility. On Thursday, March 28, the museum’s Tobin Distinguished Lecture will feature Dr. Caroline Hamilton, a historian and curator specializing in early twentieth-century ballet and the evolution of dance costume. The program will be a precursor to the upcoming exhibition Women of the Ballets Russes, which opens in October. And, throughout the month of November, the McNay will host workshops, talks, film screenings, and more to celebrate the month of the museum’s opening in 1954.

In addition to 2024 marking the McNay’s 70th anniversary, other milestones this year include the 40th anniversary of the Tobin Wing, the museum’s galleries dedicated to showcasing theater and film ephemera and objects; the 90th birthday anniversary of the late Robert L. B. Tobin, namesake of the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts; and the 60th anniversary of the museum’s docent program.

Learn more about the McNay, including upcoming events and exhibitions, via the museum’s website.

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