Austin has a booming art scene as well as a number of nationally recognized museums and with Austin Museum Day approaching on September 18, 2016, visitors should expect nothing but the best. This year, Austin's museum community will be celebrating its historic and artistic pride with free admission to more than 35 participating museums in the area. So, no matter what you're into, you’ll be able to find a spot to explore in this list of Austin’s highlights.
Be sure to check out Museum Day's calendar for participating locations, but remember these gems are available year-round for visitors and locals alike!
03 Tom Friedman, Looking Up, 2015. The Contemporary Austin Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Credit Brian Fitzsimmons.
If You Admire Both Traditional and Contemporary Art...
A must-see is The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria, an outdoor sculpture park and museum that brings multidisciplinary exhibitions, engaging programs and enticing special events to the city's art landscape.
Also be sure to stop by the Mexic-Arte Museum, which showcases the art and culture of Mexico. Here, you’ll find exhibits that feature traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino and Latin American works.
The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is not only one of the best university art museums in the country, but it also has the largest and most comprehensive collection in Central Texas, and includes more than 17,000 works. Known for its European paintings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, this is a landmark for any art aficionado.
View works from Texas artists at Big Medium, a non-profit that supports artists from across the state by showcasing innovative gallery programming at its locations at Canopy and Bolm. It’s also known for hosting annual events like the East Austin Studio Tour and the West Austin Studio Tour.
If You like Local Art...
Modern Rocks Gallery facilitates a curated collection of photography inspired by the live music scene in Austin. The collection of photographs features musicians of all kinds and eras and provides an insight into the glamour and grit behind some of the biggest names in the music industry. In a city that thrives on music, Modern Rocks is successful in showcasing some of the best music photography in the world.
Another option is the Link & Pin, an art space that houses progressive and local art in an “artist influenced space.” This nonprofit, located in East Austin, provides working studios and gallery’s goal is to build a community where local artists can share and build on their works and ultimately make way for future artists in Austin.
Owned by four female artists is The Mom Gallery, which features diverse pieces from Austin's emerging and established multicultural artists. This home-turned-gallery space displays individual and collective work every 4 weeks, offering an alternative experience to the traditional art gallery.
Women and Their Work Gallery, located in the heart of downtown, serves as a place where contemporary art created by Texas women can be featured in exhibitions, performances and workshops. The gallery is nationally recognized and works within the Austin community to provide a space where female artists can be recognized for their artistic work. Artist exhibitions rotate regularly, so be sure to visit to see some of Austin’s greatest art.
If You're Looking for Family Friendly...
The Thinkery is the place to go. This inventive children's mmuseum lets families connect with ideas through science, technology, engineering, art and math. The museum offers innovative exhibits, as well as new programs for children and the children at heart.
If You're Interested in History...
The Harry Ransom Center, a free library and archive on the University of Texas campus, lets you view rarities like the Gutenberg Bible and the world's first photograph year-round as well as rotating and traveling exhibits such as the upcoming Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World exhibit (on view August 15,2016 - January 1, 2017).
Oval Office Exhibit. Credit LBJ Library, photo by Gary Phelps.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum is another can't-miss, with interactive exhibits, three high-tech theaters and displays of rare documents that explore the legislative process and key moments in the life of the Central Texas native and 36th president.
The George Washington Carver Museum was the first African American museum in Texas, and is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research and exhibition of African-American historical and cultural material. This East Austin facility hosts an impressive array of exhibits, programs and events for the local community and visitors to experience.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum features three floors of engaging exhibits that tell the story of Texas. Here, you can catch an IMAX film, or tour the exhibits and grab a Texas-themed souvenir at the gift shop to remember it by.
Head over to the French Legation Museum, boasting the oldest frame structure in Austin which was built in 1841 to represent the French government in the new Republic of Texas. Here, you can explore collections of the French Legation, take a tour of the museum and take part in family programs, history lectures and concerts that celebrate the early history of Austin.
Contributed by Maggie Rosenbohm, ACVB Marketing Intern.