New World Museum
Once a nondescript concrete box, this former garage-door-manufacturing plant in the Heights now has an electric orange exterior, sleek minimalist interior and is home to New World Museum, Houston’s only major Hispanic museum and just one of a few non-collecting art museums in the country. Founded by Armando Palacios (the high-profile restaurateur who hosts the city’s social set at his Tex-Mex bistro Armando’s), New World Museum is a nonprofit that exhibits work by emerging and established artists with the goal of celebrating the rich heritage and vibrant tradition of Hispanic art. The museum is part of Palacios’ personal compound with the back lawn of New World leading to the back door of his home. When he purchased his house 17 years ago, the Heights was still considered somewhat of a barrio. Palacios recalls; “When I bought this place people told me, ‘You can’t live there – it’s all Mexicans!’ and I said, ‘I am a Mexican.’” What Palacios had in mind was to energize the neighborhood, not run away from it. He succeeded.