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Arthouse at the Jones Center and Austin Museum of Art to merge Austin

Following budgetary problems at the two museums in Austin, Texas, the boards of the AustinMuseum of Art and Arthouse at the JonesCenter voted to merge on Tuesday, November 1, reports Jeanne-Claire van Ryzin of the Austin American-Statesman.

Jack Nokes, interim director at the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), will retain his position as interim director of the new organization until a new director is found. Board president Darrell K. Windham said they expect to make a hiring decision in the next three to six months following a national search. After a director is hired, a new name will be found and a re-branding purpose will begin.

The Statesman reports that the budget for the new organization will be $3.2 million starting January 1, 2012. AMOA currently operates on a $3.1 million budget, while Arthouse’s budget is at $1.1 million.

“The new organization is completely debt-free,” Windham said.

Both AMOA and Arthouse will also contribute property and resources to expand the new institution’s space and reach. AMOA, a traditionally encyclopedic museum, will contribute its modest permanent collection and property at Laguna Gloria, a 1916 historical home on LakeAustin that currently hosts small exhibits, a community art school and a sculpture garden. Arthouse, a kunsthalle-type institution that presents rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, contributes its $6.6 million building designed by LTL Architects. The facility opened in October 2010 to great acclaim.