Written by Ally Maxey, Ind. IIDA of MDI Resources.
When I moved to Austin, I discovered the most beautiful & creatively inspiring place on earth. Tucked in the heart of 78704, across from famed Zilker Park, Town Lake and Barton Springs Pool, is my favorite gem of all; The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum. The former home & 8 acres of noted 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umlauf, now a hip oasis where art+culture meet nature, only blocks from the heart of a sprawling capitol city.
UMLAUF is proud to be fully accessible, beautifully lit, and perfectly maintained. We recently added plaques with brail to every single sculpture, and all sculptures are coated with wax so that everyone can feel art. We work closely with the Texas State Schools, and offer after school programming to children all over Central Texas. UMLAUF offers health & wellness classes, event space, and rotating exhibits showing work from both Umlauf and other artists. Right now we are displaying the work of Umlauf’s most famous art student at The University of Texas, Farrah Fawcett. She and Umlauf remained close for decades, and they both made great impression on one another’s point of view.
After 5 years volunteering at the Umlauf, I am now serving on the board as this year’s Garden Party Chair. The Garden Party is our biggest annual event, where we raise the money used to keep the Garden & Museum preserved throughout the year. Now in my 8th month at MDI Resources as a rep for OFS Brands, would you believe I had the BEST idea for an amazing silent auction item that would wow the 1000 people in attendance!?! Words can’t express how grateful I am… the Umlauf is… for this donation; a Madrid High Back Lounge Chair. With Natural Walnut Shell and the perfect crème shade of Camira Flow, people were literally freaking out over the chair. I had to print off a second bid sheet because we had over 75 bids. At the close of the night, the chair sold for $4,200.00. That’s enough to provide a bus for over 60 Austin area classrooms to take a field trip to the garden.
There’s a common denominator between my job, my personal life, and my volunteer gig; creativity & nature preservation. During my speech at the Garden Party last week, where we raised over $300,000.00, I signed off with: “ART. CULTURE. COMMUNITY. Like the sculptures, life, and supporters around me tonight, we are all planting roots, sharing the same sun, and growing the only way I know how: together.”