From street art to fine art and everything in between, Houston and the surrounding cities are packed with intricate works waiting to whisk you away to a world of imagination. For fine art enthusiasts, Houston houses multiple museums showcasing artistic creations from around the globe. The Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum, and The Menil Collection are just a few of the fine-art favorites. Curating for your personal collection? Then look to the city's 60-plus art galleries comprising one of the most dynamic art markets in the country. Annual events such as the fall and spring Bayou City Art Festivals offer national spectators the opportunity to purchase straight from the creators. Emerging artists can be found in unique studios and underground art scenes all over Houston, including The Studios at Sawyer Yards and Hardy & Nance Studios. However, some of Houston's most impressive art scenes can be found on the street! Giant murals adorn the walls of businesses, container structures, and venues throughout the city. What's the best way to see these massive murals, you ask? The Houston Mural Tour, of course!
Street art and fine art collide in Baytown's Downtown Arts District with the new Baytown Sculpture Trail. Boasting a unique mix of 20 art installations, the trail features artists from across the country and Canada. See everything from traditional bronze statues to whimsical metal and wood pieces with a self-guided tour beginning at 213 West Texas Avenue. The best part? The sculptures are dynamic, with new installations taking shape every 12 months. The current pieces bid farewell in March of 2023 when a new host of masterpieces arrive to take their place.
The Sculpture Trail might be the newest addition to the Baytown Arts District, but it's only one piece of your visual adventure. Spectacular murals color the walls and streets of downtown with creativity at every corner. Take, for instance, the geometric Ashbel Street Mural next to Town Square. This giant mural, created by The Public Art Visioning Committee, took to the street (literally) in 2021 and has become a social media favorite. It's an easy stop when visiting the Sculpture Trail, as seven of the sculptures surround it. Can you spot them in the photo above?
Beaumont is no stranger to talent and beauty when it comes to art. An extensive public art scene weaves its way through the city with over 20 murals created by local and national artists. Varying in design from abstract to local attractions and notable icons, each offers a colorful backdrop for that one-of-a-kind Kodak moment. Scattered amongst the murals, you'll find multiple works by sculptor David Cargill.
Like Houston, Beaumont also supports local emerging artists with affordable studio and exhibition space. The Art Studio, Inc. is one such place. With a minimum of 10 exhibitions a year, this unique location is the perfect stop to explore creations from some of Beaumont's most talented up-and-coming creators.
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), a community staple since the 1950s, showcases thought-provoking works for every taste. An epicenter for unique collections and exhibitions, the AMSET rotates its featured show every three months. Featuring an array of artists and mediums, this museum houses an expansive permanent collection of contemporary North American and Mexican art focusing on the region. Still feeling the museum vibe? The Dishman Art Museum, located on the Lamar University campus, has a permanent collection of over 1,000 works ranging from African and pre-Columbian art to Salvador Dali silkscreen prints. Whether you're an established curator or simply an engaged spectator, this culturally significant showplace is not one to miss.
For art lovers of any age, the Pearland Pear-Scape Trail is a sight to behold. A total of 20 four-foot-tall, fiberglass cast pears artistically painted by local artists act as a self-guided tour through Pearland. A riddle-filled scavenger hunt and a digital passport adventure create an engaging way for you to locate the nine distinct locations of the colorful pears.
Envisioned by the Pearland Convention and Visitors Bureau, the mission of the Pear-Scape Trail is to promote cultural tourism in the area. The project launched the grand return of the pear back to Pearland after the city transitioned from its historically agricultural landscape to the shopping, foodie, and events destination it is today. Want to win an exciting Pearland goodie-box? Then post a #VisitPearland selfie with your favorite pear on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter after completing the tour. Happy hunting!
New to the mural scene is the hometown with a heart, Tomball! That's right, the Tomball Train Mural, created by artist Beth Mankin, adorns the exterior wall of Tomball's Tourism Information Center at 214 West Main. This giant work of art pays homage to Tomball's railroad roots and features the city's beloved mascot, Rusty Rails. After snapping a selfie with Rusty, head a few blocks down to the Tomball Train Depot and check out the multiple life-sized statues by sculptor Sandra Van Zandt.
As you continue perusing Old Town Tomball, don't forget to stop by DaVinci Artists' Gallery. The gallery, comprised of an association of local artists, strives to keep culture and imagination alive in the Greater Houston Area. Stop in on the second Saturday of the month and catch the Fresh Arts Open House, a showcase event with tons of original art available for purchase!
After visiting all the innovative works in Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Pearland, and Tomball, you're probably ready to take a seat and rest for a bit. Then, do so in The Woodlands on one of the 24 unique public art benches located along The Waterway, Lake Woodlands, and Hughes Landing! Become part of a Lake Woodlands living portrait by snapping a photo on Stereotank's Wind O, pictured above. Make like a frog, and hop atop The Texas Dawn Water Lily on your way to The Koi Garden—where you can see some real-life water lilies.
The Art Bench Project is only one of many public art endeavors decorating The Woodlands' landscape. Mosaics, art-themed bike loops, and multiple sculptures strategically decorate the landscape with visionary wonders. Need a break from the heat? Step into the Glade Cultural Center with rotating exhibits featuring works from both local and national artists. In the evening, the Glade Cultural center transforms into a one-of-a-kind event space hosting various entertainment options, from intimate candlelight concerts to dinner theater events.
The Woodlands is also home to another highly-anticipated annual festival. The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival takes place each spring, featuring juried artwork from 200 artists. Named one of the top five art festivals in the world, this event is one you want to make sure you have on the calendar!