This post is A Local’s Guide by local photographer @sarahlouiseba. Here are some of her top recommendations on places to see Art for Free around Houston.
James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace
6100 Main St.
Experience one of Houston’s most beloved public artworks located on the Rice University campus. The structure is free and open to the public every day of the week except Tuesday, with a light sequence occurring daily at sunrise and sunset. I personally recommend the sunrise sequence, when the piece typically has less visitors.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose Blvd.
CAM is the perfect museum to pop into whenever you’re in the Museum District since it is smaller and easy to see in a short amount of time. The non-collecting institution offers six to eight exhibitions a year, some by local Houston artists. The museum also has a fun gift shop tucked in a corner on the lower level. The space is free and open to the public every day except for Monday.
Sculptures by regional artists line the running path along Heights Boulevard and are great for exploring during a stroll through the neighborhood.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St.
Yes, the MFAH has ticketed exhibitions and a general admission price—but there is also a ton you can see for F-R-E-E! Visit The Glassell School of Art hosts two public gallery space where you can find artwork by students and local artists. On the Brown Plaza and in the Cullen Sculpture Garden, you can enjoy Anish Kapoor’s iconic Cloud Column sculpture alongside works by Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Frank Stella, and more. Another bonus, the museum offers free general admission to the galleries every Thursday.
1500 McKinney St.
This huge park located in downtown has unique temporary installations and a few permanent sculptures: Synchronicity of Color by Margo Sawyer, stacks of vibrant colorful boxes that create a perfect photo backdrop; Monument Au Fantome by Jean Dubuffet, a towering sculpture over 30-ft tall that you can crawl underneath and walk in between the individual forms; and the lesser-known Listening Vessels, two sculptures with concave interiors that transmit sound waves, creating a very sophisticated game of telephone.
The Art Car Museum, AKA “Garage Mahal,” 140 Heights Blvd.
Did you know that Houston has the largest Art Car Parade in the world? Every April, hundreds of art cars cruise the streets of H-Town. The Art Car Museum houses a few of these beauties year-round. In addition to cars, they also display contemporary art exhibitions—yes, you can submit! Ironically, there is barely any parking, but it’s easy to bike and walk to from Washington Avenue. The museum is free and open to the public every day except for Monday and Tuesday.
The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St.
Located in the heart of Montrose, the museum features a main gallery building where you can find artists such as Andy Warhol and Max Ernst. The expansive gallery space is one of many, the Menil also has a drawing center and a fun Dan Flavin installation in Richmond Hall. Locals love to picnic in the surrounding Menil Park in midst of sculptues by artists Jim Love and Mark de Suvero. The museum is free and open to the public every day except for Monday and Tuesday.
Buffalo Bayou Park, 1800 Allen Pkwy &, Memorial Dr.
There are so many sculptures located along Buffalo Bayou, walk the trail and see what you discover. You can see the Houston Police Officer’s Memorial, Henry Moore’s Spindle piece near Eleanor Tinsley, Jaume Plensa’s Tolerance sculptures, and six works part of the “Monumental Moments” series, displaying thoughts such as Explore, Reflect, and Listen. Can you find all six?
Street Art and Murals!
You can find murals and street art almost anywhere in the city, especially in EaDo at Leeland and St. Emanuel, in Midtown near Houston Community College, and surrounding the Sawyer Yards. Drive, bike, and walk around the city to find these gems.
James Turrell at RiceMuseum DistrictCheck out the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany...More inforemation
Contemporary Arts MuseumMuseum DistrictMore inforemation
Discovery Green “Art Boxes” by Margo SawyerDowntownMore inforemation
Museum of Fine ArtsMuseum DistrictMore inforemation
The Menil CollectionMuseum DistrictMore inforemation
Buffalo Bayou ParkDowntownIncluding a dog park for our dear four legged ...More inforemation
Grafitti Park (EaDo)EaDoMore inforemation
Art Car MuseumThe HeightsMore inforemation