As the days get shorter and the nights longer, we all know what that means: Art buying season in Houston has arrived. Perhaps the art community schedules so many fairs and festivals in October and November because we’re moving into the holidays and prime gift buying months. Or, perhaps it’s just the perfect season to bring art into our homes. Either way, there’s no better time to get to art collecting.
Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur of contemporary artwork or someone looking for that perfect handmade jewelry gift, Houston has an art market for you. Here are just a few of the markets we’ll be shopping this fall.
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston’s favorite art buying extravaganza appropriately took 2017 off after Harvey, but they’re back and bigger than ever. The one-stop art shop for both the serious collector and those just beginning to explore the buying bug, this year’s fair will feature 65 local, national, and international exhibitors, innovative installations, and arts education programming. While the central art action happens in George R. Brown, the fair has become so big it tends to spill out into the rest of the city, with VIP behind-the-scenes artist tours and special viewings of private collections. The VIP preview party takes place October 4.
Biannual Art Stroll
What began as old rice storage silos and a bunch of warehouses aligning the railroad tracks into downtown has become the premiere art studios and galleries spot in Houston. During the biannual art stroll sprint on down to find a cornucopia of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass, mosaic, photography, ceramics, mixed media, and jewelry from nearly 350 local artists. The six studio buildings will be open for art exploration, including: Sabine Street Studios, Silver Street Studios, Spring Street Studios, Summer Street Studios, The Silos at Sawyer Yards, and Winter Street Studios. Look for live music, light bites and drinks in each building.
Bayou City Art Festival
Every year artists from around the country invade Houston and surround city hall for a giant art party. From photographs, paintings, metalwork, ceramics, and jewelry, there’s enough to satisfy all your art and fine-craft cravings. But this event always makes for a true festival with music, roaming performers, children’s creative zones, food trucks, and vendors both days. Feel good about doing a bit of art partying as over the years Bayou City Art Festival Downtown in the fall and Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park in the spring, has raised 3.5 million dollars in support local nonprofit organizations.
Art on the Avenue
Winter Street Studios
Billed as Houston’s largest silent auction, Art on the Avenue has for years been the one art-buying event for those Houston art lovers in-the-know who know a deal on fine contemporary art when they see one. Showcasing more than 250 artists who contribute their work to the auction, the event benefits Avenue and their mission to build affordable homes and strengthen communities in Houston. For those who want to put their “taken” mark on a favorite piece early, the preview party on November 1 offers an exclusive first look all the offerings. Even if you’re not buying, Saturday night brings lots of entertainment not just from DJ G-Funk but from watching some frenzied silent bidding before last auction call.
Art @ Discovery Green
If you’d rather your buying be a little less competitive, Discovery Green has an art alternative, and you won’t need a ticket. With the park as a most picturesque setting, leisurely explore the work of more than 60 fine and contemporary craft artists. The event will feature Aerosol Warfare artist GONZO247, who will be onsite selling his studio work. And if you’re trying to schedule both big art market events this weekend, the preview night on Friday, November 2 (6 to 10 p.m.) coincides with the park's inaugural Día de los Muertos festival.
Heartmade Harvest Market
Main Street Square
After the success of the Heartmade spring and holiday markets in 2017, the Houston Downtown Management District will offer a fall slot for this bustling outdoor urban market. Head downtown to find more than 70 regional artists selling works ranging from jewelry and apparel to home goods and art. This is another market proving that art shopping is good both for the soul and community as all booth fees benefit Hoof Prints and Heart Beats, a volunteer-run organization that offers free equine therapy and equine-enhanced counseling to children and adults with special needs.
Downtown warehouse district and beyond
Think of this as less of an art market and more of self-guided journey into the Houston’s beautiful underbelly of downtown studios and exhibition space. You’re certainly welcome to window shop along the way. For 25 years, downtown artists have welcomed Houston to crawl on in, see where the creation happens, and talk to and hear the stories of some of the city’s outstanding local artists.