Lush, green, magical and engaging. Those are just a handful of the descriptive words that convey the experience at the 15th Annual Umlauf Garden Party, which raises funds and awareness for the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
Now helmed by social powerhouse Nina Seely, the Umlauf recently announced plans to connect the famed sculptor’s hillside home and studio to the garden that hugs the bluff across the street from Barton Springs. Walking the grounds, one can see how bringing the studio into the exhibition space will enhance what is already a lovely place to learn and reflect.
Of course, upgrading the site will take funding, and the Garden Party is just one of those sources for bringing this urban gem up to Ms. Seely’s (and the Umlauf family’s) standards. Thursday night’s unseasonably cool weather, overcast skies and breezy conditions made for a great introduction to those who have never visited and reinforced why this space matters to Austin for repeat visitors and patrons.
Event chair Jordan Jeffus and co-chair Emily Pratte (and their committee) created an exceptional event that utilized all areas of the sculpture park and museum. Guests were greeted with cocktails and bites from Jeffrey’s before delving into the imaginative silent action just beyond the entrance.
As the party got into full swing, one was free to meander through the numerous paths peppered with wine stations and booths from some of Austin’s best food purveyors. We have to give kudos to the committee for curating a “best of the best” among the city’s dining establishments. A standout scallop and polenta dish from NORTH still had us talking the next day!
After quick remarks and a brief live auction (thank you, Umlauf!) the party turned into what it was intended to be…a social occasion. We spotted community leaders Richard Hartgrove and Gary Cooper, Deborah Dobbs, Cora and Clayton Bullock, George Elliman, Nancy Nichols, and Venus and Bill Strawn visiting among the revelers. With the coming improvements, this party is sure to stay near the top of spring must-do’s!
* Photos courtesy of Stacey Harrell