Everything You Need to Know about the Arts Scene in Texas

Everything You Need to Know about the Arts Scene in Texas

Texas has earned a reputation as the new mecca for artists from all over the United States. Offering inexpensive studio space, a host of artistic residences and retreats, and some of the country’s most renowned galleries and museum collections, the art scene in Texas is thriving. In the following, we highlight some of the best ones.


The City of Austin is well known for its creativity, and with good reason. Austin is home to a wide range of world-class museums, as well the largest university-owned art collection in the country, the Harry Ransom Center.

The Harry Ransom Center’s world-class museum and research library forms part of the University of Texas at Austin. Its comprehensive collections provide key insights into the creative processes of some of the world’s most celebrated artists and writers.


The Blanton Museum of Art displays priceless works from across the ages, ranging from Ancient Greece to contemporary times. Visitors can discover old and new favorites from its broad array of traveling exhibitions.

Like the Harry Ransom Center, the Blanton forms part of the University of Texas and is considered one of the most important university art museums in the United States. The museum comprises a permanent collection of over 17,000 works from classical and contemporary artists, with a focus on European paintings and Latin American art.


The city’s Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the entire United States, welcoming an estimated 4 million visitors annually. Downtown Dallas Inc., a nonprofit organization that runs the project, nurtures new talent through its outreach programs, residencies and exhibitions, connecting local artists with an interested market.

The Nasher Sculpture Center houses one of the most important sculpture collections in the world, comprising over 300 masterpieces by renowned artists, including:

  • Picasso
  • Gormley
  • Matisse
  • Kelly
  • Kooning
  • Hepworth
  • Moore
  • Rodin
  • Shapiro

The center rotates a selection of works in its light-filled galleries and garden grounds, in addition to exhibiting travelling collections of contemporary sculpture.


Founded in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the nation’s largest art museums. The museum houses more than 24,000 works spanning over 5,000 years of history. Comprising an impressive array of artistic genres, the museum supports local artists and encourages community creativity through its year-round program of exhibitions, concerts, lectures and literary events. Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art has been free since 2013.

The Dallas Art Fair takes place every April in Downtown Dallas. The event features works from leading international galleries, including paintings and sculptures from renowned contemporary artists such as Kevin Appel, Laura Lancaster, Tom LaDuke, Bernar Venet, and Julia Kunin.

Highlights from the 2018 Dallas Art Fair included Franz West’s colossal Lemur s sculpture, which sold for $1.15 million. Milton Avery’s Adolescents by the Sea commanded $375,000, and Lee Krasner’s 1969 gouache on paper work titled Water No. 18 fetched $225,000 at the event.

San Antonio

With its rich cultural history and modern attractions, San Antonio is a place where old and new worlds collide. The San Antonio Museum of Art, which is perched on the banks of the San Antonio River, houses one of the most impressive collections of ancient art in the southern United States. The museum features artwork from ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, as well as a Latin American wing that showcases work from the ancient Americas to the present day, which includes a comprehensive collection of folk art.


The San Antonio Museum of Art’s contemporary galleries feature pieces by internationally recognized artists and showcases the work of rising local talent.

Artspace San Antonio nurtures regional artists and offers residency programs to national and international artists, investing in the creation of new work. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1993 by artist, art collector, and entrepreneur Linda Pace, whose vision was to create a “laboratory of dreams” for new artists, encouraging artistic growth through experimentation. Artspace, which supports creativity through its exhibition and residency programs, has grown to become an internationally respected arts institution.


Perched high on Chihuahua’s desert plains, Marfa seems to be an unlikely arts destination. Nevertheless, this tiny town is emerging as an art tourism hotspot that attracts artists and collectors from all over the world.

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd abandoned New York City. After arriving at Marfa, he never looked back. Judd acquired an old Army base, proceeding to fill it with art and light installations. Today, Judd’s estate encompasses 400 acres of scrubby pastureland.

Following Judd’s death in 1994, the estate is now maintained by the Chinati Foundation.

The quiet cowboy town of Marfa is a pot of creativity. Judd inspired artist after artist to follow in his footsteps. Snapped up by the influx of artists and collectors, Marfa’s once derelict buildings today flourish as studios and galleries. The 1930s Mexican dance hall houses a white space of world class installations, its exhibitions rivalling those found in any major city.

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