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Skyline from Sam Houston Park

Barbara Davis

Owner, Barbara Davis Gallery

Barbara Davis 215 x275West Coast transplant Barbara Davis has helped shape Houston's contemporary art scene since the early '80s, when she opened her internationally-recognized Barbara Davis Gallery.

In addition to helping launch the careers of talents like Julie Mehretu and Mie Olise, Davis has challenged a generation of art collectors-both seasoned and aspiring-to see the beauty and value in works by rising-star artists. She has helped draw cutting-edge exhibitions such as Leipzig Select, artists from the New Leipzig School, and exhibitions for Beijing East Village artists Zhang Huan and Li Wei to Houston. 

The gallery was one of the first Texas galleries to be included in the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair and has been touted in international publications like ArtForum, ARTnews and The New York Times.

4411 Montrose

Background...I grew up in Los Angeles and opened the gallery in Houston in the early '80s. The gallery just celebrated its 30th anniversary.

When I'm not working...Most everything I do, even socially, revolves around the performing and visual arts. I'm passionate about the art world because that's where the magic is for me. I'm fortunate to be in a profession that allows me to do what I love. 

Houston's hidden gem...There are so many hidden gems throughout Houston. We have wonderful non-profit art spaces, including Lawndale Art Center and DiverseWorks. In addition, we have a world-class opera and symphony, as well as underground theater, such as The Catastrophic Theater.

Why Houston?...I lived here many years ago and I always fondly remembered the city and the spirit of the people. The lifestyle and quality of life here was also a big draw.  When I decided to open the gallery, I felt Houston was the perfect place. Since then, Houston has become the third largest art center after New York and L.A. 

Lawndale

Houston's art scene...What makes Houston a dynamic art scene is the abundance of museums, internationally known galleries, collectors, and working artists. The art community is incredibly inclusive, nurturing, and forward thinking.

Explaining Houston to outsiders...Houston is a vibrant, entrepreneurial city with a tremendous amount of cultural diversity. There is an indescribable energy, allure, and excitement here that cannot be ignored.

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