Mardi Gras 2019 is Tuesday, March 5th
Art & Architecture in Galveston, Texas
Creativity, Visual Art and Design in Galveston, Texas
Photo courtesy of Artist Boat
As an island destination, with sun and sand attracting most visitors, Galveston’s artistic treasures tend to exist on something of a “need to know” basis. But for those in the know, the island boasts a few really unique and interesting attractions and opportunities.
Whether Galveston’s watery surroundings inspire them to create their own masterpiece, or they find themselves searching for sculptures carved from trees felled in a hurricane, with a little effort and a willingness to seek them out, visitors to Galveston Island can find ample opportunities both for creating and appreciating visual art and artistry.
Galveston Arts Center
Currently residing in a temporary location while their permanent space undergoes a million dollar renovation, the Galveston Arts Center (GAC) offers a schedule of approximately 25 rotating exhibits in a variety of media from all across Texas.
Once every six to eight weeks for the past 20 years the GAC has also hosted ArtWalk. ArtWalk takes place in existing galleries, non-profit spaces, and a few restaurants/retail spaces referred to as "other walls”. The goal of Artwalk is to promote visual art and artists by expanding the public’s notions of what are considered viable "galleries" and venues for works of art.
2501 Market St.; 409-763-2403
Originally the private residence of one of Galveston’s most prominent lawyers, Bishop's Palace, the island’s grandest and best-known building, is a spectacular stained glass, carved stone, and wood castle filled with luxury furnishings and ornamentation from around the world.
Thought by some to be one of America’s 100 most important buildings, the home was built from 1886 to 1892. For anyone with an interest in architecture, and, or local history, Bishop’s Palace should not be missed.
1402 Broadway; 409-762-2475
Postoffice Street Arts & Entertainment District
The Postoffice Street renovation of the 1990s revitalized this area of downtown by restoring and rejuvenating over 25 historic buildings. Now, a decade later, this area is known for its mix of art galleries, antique shops, loft residences, and hip/trendy eateries. In Postoffice Street galleries and shops you’ll find everything from painting and sculptures to folk art and the surreal.
This Juried fine arts festival is a fall classic on Galveston Island and takes place in the historic Postoffice Street Arts & Entertainment District and presents the works of over 100 artists. A nominal fee is charged for adults, but children under 12 get in for free. In addition to the competition, attendees can look forward to food and live music, with proceeds going to charity.
Dead Tree Sculptures
On September 12th, 2008, Hurricane Ike, a massive storm (and the third major hurricane to lash the gulf Coast that year) struck Galveston Island, Texas. In addition to the immediate destruction caused by wind, tide, and a reported 15-foot storm surge, the long-term corrosive effects of saltwater flooding resulted in the loss of some 40,000 trees in and around Galveston. In the wake of Ike’s devastation, and in an attempt to turn a now blighted and barren landscape into something more presentable, the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy was formed. Along with tree planting and other conservancy initiatives, one of the community’s most visible and creative beautification efforts has put some of the destroyed trees back into service as public works of art.
Across Galveston more than 20 sculptures, carved from Hurricane Ike’s downed trees, have sprung up in front yards, gardens, and other publicly visible spaces. They are all on display near the street, where the public and visitors can see them. Galveston tree sculpture subjects include: angels, the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, pelican, dolphins, dogs, mermaids, a heron, a Japanese Geisha, numerous other animals, a broken column, and a plaque memorializing the fallen trees.
To view a Pdf slideshow of the sculptures complete with their locations around Galveston, click here.
Surrounded by water, it stands to reason that some of Galveston Island’s most inspirational elements would be found in, on, and around the water. That being the case, Artist Boat tours take advantage of this situation by leading kayak expeditions through Galveston’s waters. The goal is to introduce people to Galveston’s considerable natural environmental gifts, and inspire them to create something meaningful.
Led by marine biologists and artists, these four-hour (round trip) excursions include paddling instruction, art instruction and guidance. Participants paddle out into a scenic area, are then given a brief historical and environmental briefing on the environment, and as much or as little art instruction as they might require. Participants are then free to draw, paint, journal, or otherwise create something inspired by the surroundings.
If you plan to take an Artist Boat tour, you’ll want to bring your own water and lunch (or dinner on sunset trips).
2415 Ave K; 409-770-0722; www.artistboat.org
Whether painting sunset through the marsh grass from the deck of a kayak, exploring the historic glamour of Bishop’s Palace, or programming your own art walk through the galleries of Post Office Street, Galveston Island’s art scene is nothing if not diverse and filled with unusual and interesting ways to create something yourself or enjoy the fruits of someone else’s imagination.
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