Museums and Galleries
Founded by legendary art patron Linda Pace, Artpace has earned international acclaim for its innovative artists’ residency program. Located in a converted 1920s automobile dealership, Artpace presents original works created by Texas, national and international artists during their residencies, along with contemporary art exhibits, lectures and other avant-garde events in the Hudson Room. Every Friday, a mobile food truck serves delicious tacos curbside in the courtyard.
The McNay Art Museum, housed in a Spanish Colonial Revival estate, has grown into one of the best small museums in the country—the Wall Street Journal puts it in the top four—with a world-class collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century European and American art, along with changing exhibits in the Stieren Center for Exhibits.
The 100-year-old San Antonio Art League makes its home in the King William Historic District. The organization is dedicated to the support and exhibition of local and regional artists, with exhibits of various artists’ works featured throughout the year. The museum’s permanent collection includes 400 works of all media, primarily by Texas artists—paintings and water-colors, graphic art, photography, ceramics, sculpture, drawings, silverware, furniture, fabric and wall hangings.
San Antonio’s main library is also an award-winning architectural masterpiece and a good place to view art. The “enchilada red” library was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. The gallery focuses on local artists and the spectacular hanging glass sculpture is by Dale Chihuly.
Tour the world of art in encyclopedic exhibits ranging from ancient Greek and Egyptian art to Asian ceramics and Latin American, American, European and contemporary art. Out back, the new Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk features public art installations such as Donald Lipski’s giant, lighted sunfish and a fantastic carved concrete grotto by San Antonio artist Carlos Cortés.
Outstanding contemporary shows, most for free, are held in the Russell Hill Rogers Galleries of the Southwest School of Art, one of the largest art schools in the U.S. The school occupies the campus of a Catholic girls’ school founded in 1851. The grounds are breathtaking and slope down to a beautiful garden on the San Antonio River Walk. Stop in for lunch at the Copper Kitchen and don’t miss the gift shop, one of the best places to buy handcrafted art in San Antonio.
One of the city’s most popular museum, the Witte Museum, hugs Brackenridge Park and the banks of the San Antonio River. The Witte is primarily devoted to science and natural history, with wonderful children’s exhibits and stellar traveling exhibits from around the world, but also boasts the best early Texas art collection in the state. The museum is undergoing expansion, and the 20,000 sq. ft. South Texas Heritage Center opened in 2012 to tell the real-life stories of those who were integral to the history of South Texas, including Native Americans, Spanish settlers, Tejanos, ranchers, trail drivers, farmers and oil and gas pioneers.
San Antonio Art Galleries
It’s great fun when you travel to find pieces of art you love and bring them home. If you don’t know a city very well it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Here is a list of the city’s main commercial galleries, featuring well-curated shows by dealers knowledgeable about the local art scene.
Lawrence Markey: Drawings, paintings and sculptures from 1960 to present.
Monte Wade Fine Arts Gallery: Contemporary and traditional art.
Nueva Street Gallery: Contemporary works by Texas artists.
Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum: Four on-site galleries hold more than 20 contemporary art exhibits annually.
AnArte Gallery: Contemporary artwork across all media by both established and up-and-coming artists.
Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art: Nationally and internationally known artists working in a variety of media.
Hunt Gallery: Realistic and abstract works by regional and national artists.
NanEtte Richardson Fine Art: Regional and national painters and sculptors.
Parchman Stremmel: Contemporary works by American and Latin American artists who are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally.
REM Gallery: Contemporary art featuring Texas artists.
Gallery Nord: Contemporary works by local, national and international artists