6 Can't-Miss Cultural Attractions In Houston
Though it gets plenty of attention for its pro sports teams and history with NASA, Houston is also home to a wealth of museums and other places to experience great art and culture. Each of these destinations offers something special to the community, and all of them are worth a trip, whether you're a local, on a Texas vacation, or just passing through. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
6 Vibrant Cultural Destinations in Houston
|Museum of Fine Arts, Houston||Nearly 70,000 works spread over multiple sites, including the Cullen Sculpture Garden, Bayou Bend, and Rienzi|
|Lawndale Art Center||Free exhibitions and events in a wide variety of artistic forms such as painting, collage, film, musical performances, readings, and multimedia pieces|
|Rothko Chapel||Community space welcoming people of all faiths to reflect and engage in discussion, with murals by renowned artist Mark Rothko|
|Czech Center Museum Houston||Artwork, books, and artifacts related to the experiences of Czech and Slovak immigrants and their history & culture|
|Menil Collection||Five buildings of art that spans from prehistoric to contemporary, outdoor sculptures, and buildings dedicated to Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin, with admission and all programs presented for free|
|Houston Center for Contemporary Craft||Works of art made from clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and recycled materials, along with artist residencies and educational programs|
The Menil Drawing Institute
- The city was founded in 1836
- It is named after Sam Houston
- From 1837 to 1839, Houston was the capital of Texas
- Fourth most populous city in the US, after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago
- 31% of the population over the age of 25 holds a bachelor's degree or higher
- 22.1% of residents are age 5 to 19
- Greater Houston is the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the United States, with at least 145 languages spoken by city residents
- Residents of Houston eat out more times a week than in any other city in the country
- The city has more than 11,000 restaurants
- There are more heart surgeries performed at the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world
- The Astrodome, which opened in 1965, was the world's first multi-purpose domed sports stadium
- The city ranks first in total park acreage among U.S. cities with more than one million residents
- The Houston metro area takes up 8,778 square miles, bigger than the state of New Jersey
- Houston gets more annual rainfall than Seattle
- The highest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 109 degrees
- "Houston" was the first word spoken by Neil Armstrong on the moon
Outdoor Art by Russell Etchen at Lawndale Art Center
Though it is one of the largest cities in America, Houston often flies under the radar when it comes to its cultural contributions. Locals, however, know about the many wonderful places to experience art, history, and spiritual education in the city. In no particular order, here are six places you'll want to make time for on your next visit.
Starting off the list at #1 is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States, and boasts a collection of almost 70,000 works spread over multiple sites. The Sarofim Campus features two buildings with everything from ancient to contemporary art from all over the world, and is just across the street from the Cullen Sculpture Garden, a beautiful outdoor area showcasing pieces from artists such as Henri Matisse and Auguste Rodin.
Another location is Bayou Bend, which is situated on 14 acres of gardens and features American furnishings and paintings. Meanwhile, European decorative art is showcased at the Rienzi. The Museum's educational arm is the Glassell School of Art, which offers courses for both adults and children as young as 3, along with a Core Residency Program for postgraduate students. With so much to see, becoming a member is a great way to gain access to special preview parties, discounted parking and admission, and family art-making activities.
Another location is Bayou Bend, which is situated on 14 acres of gardens and features American furnishings and paintings.
At #2 is Lawndale Art Center, which began as a gallery space for graduate students at the University of Houston, and has grown to include work by hundreds of local artists, with the aim of presenting art that explores important contemporary aesthetic and social issues. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the rotating exhibitions feature everything from paintings and collage to experimental films and multimedia pieces.
Admission is free for all public programs, meaning anyone can stop by and experience what Lawndale has to offer. There are also many events, such as family art days, improvisational music performances, readings, and unique artistic presentations. If you're interested in supporting this forum for contemporary art, you can participate in fundraising events, take part in the Lending Library auction, or even rent out the gallery space for a truly special event.
Coming in at #3 is the Rothko Chapel, which has provided a safe space for dialogue, prayer, and worship in Houston for more than 40 years, housing a permanent collection of holy books and spiritual texts that reflect its commitment to diversity. More than 100,000 visitors of all faiths come to the Chapel each year. Outside is "Broken Obelisk," a sculpture dedicated to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and inside the building are 14 murals created by legendary artist Mark Rothko.
More than 100,000 visitors of all faiths come to the Chapel each year.
Every other year, the Oscar Romero Award is given out, recognizing courageous, grassroots human rights advocacy. It is named after Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, who was canonized in 2018 for speaking up against injustice in El Salvador. There is an ambitious plan for restoration and expansion of the space, and support is welcomed from those who wish to preserve this quiet, special place for future generations.
#4 is the Czech Center Museum Houston, which offers educational experiences based on authentic objects, art, music, and stories from people of Czech, Slovak, and other cultures who sought freedom from oppressive systems by coming to America. The museum offers free admission the last Monday of every month, and kids 12 and under always get general admission for free, ensuring everyone can enjoy the enlightening experiences offered within.
Among the pieces available to view are historically significant paintings, jewelry, glass, and porcelain works. There is also an extensive library of more than 7,000 volumes covering Czech and Slovak art, history, periodicals, and genealogical research material. Visitors with a keen interest can apply to become docents and take part in sharing this extensive collection with people from around the world.
Visitors with a keen interest can apply to become docents and take part in sharing this extensive collection with people from around the world.
At #5 is the Menil Collection, which features five buildings of carefully-chosen artwork, with no accompanying material next to the pieces, allowing them to speak for themselves so viewers can have a personal experience. The permanent collection contains pieces that span from the prehistoric era to the present day. There are also several large outdoor sculptures, entire buildings dedicated to Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin, and the Drawing Institute.
Open five days a week, part of the Menil's mission is to make art accessible, which is why admission is free, as are all public programs. There are many levels of membership available to patrons who wish to contribute, and donations by individuals and businesses allow the Menil to continue programs like the educational opportunities afforded to local students who can visit on field trips.
Rounding out the list at #6 is the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Opening its doors in 2001, this cultural institution places its emphasis on objects of art made primarily from clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, or recycled materials. By perusing the galleries, visitors will have their assumptions challenged as to what qualifies as "craft" while they view beautiful pieces in a variety of forms.
Opening its doors in 2001, this cultural institution places its emphasis on objects of art made primarily from clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, or recycled materials.
HCCC awards residencies to artists each year, which include studio space and a monthly stipend, allowing them the freedom to follow their inspiration and create something truly meaningful. There are also many educational programs available, as well as a craft camp for elementary school-aged kids. The facilities can be rented out for a one-of-a-kind experience after hours, including guided tours and hands-on craft making.