Houston boasts a thriving community of more than 60 art galleries that together comprise one of the most dynamic art markets in the country. These significant art spaces, many fueled by the metropolis' large pool of painters, sculptors, photographers and conceptual talents are distinguished both by the quality of their exhibitions and the diversityof their staples.
Where to begin? Follow our gallery-by-gallery guide--organized geographically--for where you need to go to get your art on.
G Gallery in The Heights
For more than two decades Gallery Row--at the intersection of Colquitt and Lake Streets in the Upper Kirby area--has been home to an exciting enclave of galleries housed door-to-door in a handsome, Arquitectonica-designed postmodern structure. Among Colquitt's powerhouse dealers are:
- Hooks-Epstein Gallery: In business for more than three decades, with a penchant for contemporary surrealists
- Thom Andriola/New Gallery: Representing talents from up-and-coming Texas sculptress Tara Conley to hotly collected internationals video artist Michal Rovner and painter Yigal Ozeri
- Goldesberry Gallery: Houston's source for contemporary craft
- John Cleary Gallery: A significant stop for vintage photography
- McMurtrey Gallery: Represents contemporary regional and national artists
- Moody Gallery: Opened 1975, which emphasizes Texas talents such as Whitney Biennial-exhibited, 2006 Texas Artist of the Year Al Souza, known for his Pop jigsaw puzzle paintings
- Dean Day Gallery: Presents work by American contemporary artisans specializing in abstract expressionism, realism, impressionism & sculpture
- Thornwood Gallery: Diverse painting and sculpture focus
- Parkerson Gallery: A specialist in the secondary market featuring rare estate finds.
Eat + Drink
- Queen Vic Pub and Kitchen (one block): Owner Richard Di Virgilio doles out premium cocktails, craft beer and small British-inspired plates to an enthusiastic crowd.
- Sonoma Wine Bar (one block): Sonoma serves over 100 wines and beers in every price range with taste varietals for every palate.
- Little Pappasito's Cantina (two blocks): Find all your Tex-Mex favorites cooked to perfection including enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, and seafood dishes.
Upper Kirby District
Five minutes north of Colquitt lies the Upper Kirby District, anchored by Meredith Long & Company, the Bayou City's preeminent blue chip, founded in 1957, with a history of exhibiting 19th century American Impressionists (Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent) and contemporary grand masters Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland. Additional Upper Kirby galleries include:
- Texas Gallery: Features a stellar stable, representing heavy-hitters such as New York-based abstract painters Elizabeth Murray and Jeff Elrod, as well as Ellen Phelan's lyrical landscapes
- Archway Gallery: Celebrated for its way with clay
Eat + Drink
- La Griglia (two blocks from Texas Gallery): A popular Italian restaurant with inventive cuisine, attentive service and a casual atmosphere.
Richmond Avenue Corridor
East of Colquitt and south of River Oaks and the Upper Kirby District is the Richmond Avenue Corridor, a burgeoning area boasting some of Houston's most powerful art players. Four major dealers with Richmond Avenue addresses are:
- McClain Gallery: A sophisticated temple to international talents, exhibiting painters Julian Schnabel, Christian Eckart and Andy Moses
- Sicardi Gallery: Esteemed contemporary and historical Latin American stable and an annual exhibitor at Art Basel Miami Beach
- Rudolph Projects/ArtScan Gallery: Housed in a 1930s era bungalow known for promoting rising Texas talents
Eat + Drink
- Hobbit Cafe (across the street from McClain Gallery): Open for brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks, Hobbit Café is a cozy eatery and rustic hangout.
- La Tapatia Taqueria (next door to De Santos Gallery): This glorified diner offers nothing fancy, just impeccably fresh, beautifully prepared ingredients.
Montrose to Museum District
Continuing down Richmond Avenue, you'll quickly reach the Museum District, a new nexus for gallery action. The must-see stop is 4411 Montrose Gallery Building, home to five galleries. The soaring, two-storing minimalist structure (designed by internationally known Houston architect Peter Zweig) was unveiled in 2005, featuring top-tier tenants Barbara Davis Gallery, Anya Tish Gallery, Joan Wich & Co. Gallery and Wade Wilson Art.
- Barbara Davis Gallery: Recognized for having her pulse on the international scene as well as a keen eye for emerging talent
- Anya Tish Gallery: Recently expanded her eye from Eastern European to intriguing Texans such as Neva Mikulicz's multi-media realism
Heading south is Nolan-Rankin Galleries, exhibiting canvases by the vibrant School of Paris painters, and museum area mainstay Harris Gallery, steps from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Harris offers beguiling realists, including Sebastian Diaz's exquisite studies of blooming flora and award-winning lensman Peter Brown's lyrical color images documenting the Great Plains.
Eat + Drink
- Nippon Japanese Restaurant (across the street from 4411 Montrose): Owned and operated by a Japanese family, Nippon is as close to authentic Japanese food as you can get.
- Kam's Fine Chinese Restaurant (across the street from 4411 Montrose): Houstonians who love Cantonese Chinese food and other traditional Asian stir-fry and vermicelli options would be hard-pressed to find a better combination of quality, attentive service and price than Kam's.
- Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood (one block from Nolan-Rankin Galleries): A seafood house serving up fresh, flavorful Gulf Coast fare.
Rice University Area
Just south of the Museum District, discover a selection of galleries near Rice University.
- Gremillion & Co. Fine Art: Represents notables from Philip Guston protégé Gary Komarin's adroit painted abstractions to Houston collage master John Pavlicek, while the gallery's Annex specializes in art furniture and has exhibited American master Wendell Castle
- Jack Meier Gallery: Excels as the representational, showing favorites such as Vietnamese-born realist Quong Ho
- Deborah Colton Gallery: Combines Texas and New York avant-gardists that often share a similar spiritual sensibility
Eat + Drink
- Antica Osteria (across the street from Jack Meier Gallery): Antica Osteria serves terrific, authentic Italian dishes in a warm, romantic Tuscan atmosphere.
- Kay's Lounge (next door to Jack Meier Gallery): This self-described hole-in-the-wall is a haven for regular Joes and low-maintenance gals.
- Under the Volcano (one block from Jack Meier Gallery): A laid-back vibe and a highly praised jukebox headline a long list of reasons to go with the flow.
The booming mid-town area, between downtown and the Museum District, boasts four significant spaces:
- Gallery Sonja Roesch: Mixes a European and Texas stable characterized by a shared minimalist aesthetic
- Inman Gallery: Exports smart Texas talent to the hip, young art fairs
- Gite Gallery: Represents more than 70 contemporary painters from the African continent
Eat + Drink
- 13 Celsius (5 blocks from Gallery Sonja Roesch): Named after the optimal temperature for storing wine, 13 celsius offers locals a charming, European-inspired retreat in the heart of Midtown.
- the breakfast klub (1 block from the Inman and Finesilver Galleries): Catfish and grits, wings and waffles top a tempting array of breakfast favorites from around the country at this cozy comfort food zone.
- Tacos A Go Go (1 block from the Inman and Finesilver Galleries): Good food and good prices define this casual, yet funky Midtown restaurant.
Washington Avenue to West End
Fifteen minutes by car from Midtown and just west of downtown is the red hot Washington Avenue-West End Corridor, home to an intriguing group of gallerists:
- Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery: The granddaddy of West End gallerists pairs an understated modern space with a beautiful garden (that often features ethereal sculpture by Houston's Joe Havel, an important Whitney Biennial-exhibited artist)
- Booker-Lowe Gallery: An important stop for contemporary and aboriginal fine art from Australia. It's one of the few spaces in the U.S. to focus on this extraordinary collecting field and is co-owned by Houston's honorary consul-general to Australia, Nana Booker
- Mackey Gallery: Contains cutting edge contemporary art from Latin American and Mexico melded with national visualists such as the LA-based, cartoon confections of the Clayton Brothers
Eat + Drink
- Federal Grill (2 blocks from Booker-Lowe Gallery): This fine-casual grill features a modern American menu.
- BRC (3 blocks from Booker-Lowe Gallery): The casual spot boasts a stellar beer selection with more than two-dozen varieties on tap and upscale Southern fare.
- Brixx (3 blocks from Poissant and Mackey Galleries): This garage-style bar features a large outdoor patio.
Just north of Washington Avenue, discover the Heights, a thriving, restored Victorian-era community traditionally home to a number of working artists, and now the site of a gallery boom. Significant stops include Texas art incubators G Gallery and Redbud Gallery, neighbors in a 1940s-era shopping center on 11th Street; and Koelsch Gallery on Yale, which specializes in outsider and visionary artists, as well as a healthy dose of jewelry, ceramics, books, and Texas painters. The final Heights destination is Casa Ramirez, representing - and celebrating - America's Latino culture in the visual arts.
Food + Drink
- Shade (across the street from Casa Ramirez): Shade serves inventive and informal gourmet fare in a sophisticated Heights setting.
- Cricket's Creamery and Caffe (2 blocks from Casa Ramirez): This Heights cafe is a hit for its fresh fare and delicious frozen desserts.
Wrap up your art trek just outside the 610 West Loop at Off the Wall Gallery, sited in the world-renowned Houston Galleria shopping mecca. At Off the Wall, investigate annual exhibitions highlighting original lithographs from the Impressionist and Belle Epoque periods, as well as contemporary impressionist works by Renoir's grandson, who annually makes a special appearance. Nearby, Post Gallery boasts works by the very iconic painter and printmaker LeRoy Neiman.
Food + Drink
- Gigi's Asian Bistro & Dumpling Bar (inside The Galleria): Owner Gigi Huang serves up dishes from all over Asia.
- Mariposa at Neiman Marcus (inside The Galleria): Retreat to a refined atmosphere with an innovative menu selection.
- 51Fifteen (inside The Galleria): A stylish respite serving French-meets-Latin cuisine inside Saks Fifth Avenue.