Since the late 1970s, ArtHouston has brought a spark to the sluggish summer art scene with a coordinated barrage of fresh exhibits from the city's top galleries. This year's festival kicks off Saturday with more than 30 participating venues offering work from emerging regional artists like David Aylsworth and Justin Garcia to established international stars like James Turrell and Rachel Whiteread.
"ArtHouston was created to encourage a broad range of people to explore the city's commercial art spaces," says Mariah Rockefeller of the Harris Gallery, which helps to organize the fest alongside the Houston Art Dealers Association. "One of our aims is to break the stigma that you need a big wallet to step into a gallery — these are places open to everyone interested in art."
"One of our aims is to break the stigma that you need a big wallet to step into a gallery," says Mariah Rockefeller of the Harris Gallery. "These are places open to everyone interested in art."
All exhibitions are free to the public and, on Saturday, a majority of galleries will be hosting opening receptions throughout the day. Check out the ArtHouston site for details, times and participants.
While the original festival was launched with the mission of showing lesser-known artists, ArtHouston has evolved into an annual event during which galleries can promote edgier and more experimental material. As most exhibits run through August, Rockefeller notes that the festival helps to "refresh" the art community as it begins to focus on the major museum openings and art fairs in the fall.
"We always have to stress to people that ArtHouston is not an art walk," she laughs.
"Some of the galleries are clustered together in the Museum District and along Colquitt, but, for the most part, people will need a nice air-conditioned car to see it all. Let's face it, nobody wants to stroll around Houston in the summer."