The Museum Next Door
Lawndale Art Center showcases Houston’s best artists
Everyone has a little artist in him. The Lawndale Art Center certainly believes this and has the exhibitions to prove it. This unique museum, located in the center of Houston’s Museum District, has a special place in its heart for all things Houston. Every exhibition that is showcased at Lawndale is created by an artist from the city, which allows Lawndale to feel like a home for many Houstonians.
While this not-for-profit gallery is celebrating its 25th year of showcasing the work of local artists, the art deco building it now inhabits has been an architectural masterpiece on Main Street for more than 75 years, built by Houston architect Joseph Finger in 1930. When Lawndale took possession of the building in 1993, the museum created four different galleries inside for showcasing the work of local artists – so, now Houston-based artists can display their works in a Houston architect’s work of art.
Exhibiting art that appeals to the everyone, Lawndale strives to focus on the Houstonians behind the art. Close to 500 artists are featured annually in continually changing installations, so you have ample opportunity to get to know your neighbors. The exhibits exclusively showcase Houston-area artists, who can frequently be found working in tandem with the center. In fact, Lawndale’s board of directors is comprised of at least one-third artists, many of whom have been featured in exhibitions at Lawndale over the years.
Because the center’s four exhibit halls showcase different artists’ works every few months, you wouldn’t think Lawndale would have people returning to see their “old favorites.” However, many people return each year for annual festivals like the 20th Century Modern Market and Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, as well as the Big Show. The Day of the Dead special event is an educational art show held each fall focused on Mexican-American Houstonians’ artwork, including local grade school students’ artwork. Another tribute to Mexican-American culture is the Cinco de Mayo festival held each May. Though these affairs are centered around one holiday, the celebration at Lawndale extends longer, so the public has plenty of time to experience the local artists’ work.
Memberships to the Lawndale Art Center are fairly inexpensive, and the benefits are fantastic. A single membership is only $35 a year, and it gives you mailed invitations to all Lawndale events, among other things. Supporting an art venue that is so community-oriented has never been so easy, or so enjoyable. The opportunity to see the changing installations, as well as gaining access to more than 20 exhibitions and special events, is something you won’t want to miss. – GS
4912 Main St.