The visual arts scene in Texas is particularly captivating, due in large part to available funding from the state’s land and oil barons. World-class artwork is regularly exhibited throughout Texas in big cities and small towns, where art philanthropists give generously to construct ornate museums and draw exceptional exhibits.
In addition, the Texas Commission on the Arts state agency provides funding for education and cultural programs. Its grants help fund projects to educate Texas citizens about the importance of art, and the agency has been lauded for its work with at-risk youth and children with disabilities.
For the most part, Texas’s fine arts opportunities are located in its metropolitan areas. Some of the country’s best art museums are in Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Of particular note is Fort Worth’s Kimbell Museum, where the facility housing the artwork is as impressive as the work it holds. Designed by architect Louis Kahn, the softly arching ceilings provide the perfect amount of natural light to complement the interior artwork by masters such as Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, El Greco, Cezanne, and others in addition to its impressive collections of Asian and African art.
Other must-see art museums in Fort Worth are the Amon Carter Museum, showcasing high-quality Western art (Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Winslow Homer) and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, a glass structure which seems to float in a surrounding shimmering pool designed by famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Inside are more than 2,600 works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.
Dallas’ premier art attraction, the Dallas Museum of Art, features an impressive $32 million two-acre sculpture garden showcasing the work of Miro, Rodin, Moore, de Kooning and many others. The facility is also known for its Museum of the Americas, which showcases an impressive collection of historic art from North, Central, and South America.
Houston is the other main hub for Texas’s fine arts, with nearly 20 major museums and galleries. The city’s Museum of Fine Arts houses approximately 31,000 works of American, European, Latin-American, Native-American, and Asian art spanning 4,000 years. Its concentration is on Renaissance and Impressionism, but there are treasures hiding around every corner, especially the primitive Native-American pieces.
Other worthy Houston museums are the Contemporary Art Museum, which rotates exhibits every six weeks, offering visitors a fresh experience year-round. The Menil Collection also features rotating displays along with its permanent 10,000-piece collection, which includes a stunning mix of styles, from African and Byzantine to surrealist and contemporary.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition