Last updated on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
Houston Art Exhibit Venues
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Menil Collection
Contemporary Art Museum, Houston
Discovery Green & Avenida Houston
Moody Center for the Arts
Lawndale Arts Center
Project Row Houses
Houston Museum of African American Culture
Blaffer Art Museum
Houston Center for Photography
Art League Houston
Station Museum of Contemporary Art
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston
Art Car Museum
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston History & Science Exhibit Venues
Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Health Museum
Holocaust Museum Houston
Asia Society Texas Center
National Museum of Funeral History
The Bryan Museum
Lone Star Flight Museum
Houston Kids Exhibit Venues
Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Health Museum
Discovery Green & Avenida Houston
Lone Star Flight Museum
Whether exploring the world-class museums and installations that fill the Museum District, or venturing through thought-provoking displays found throughout the Greater Houston area, there is no shortage of exhibits that locals and visitors alike will find fascinating and engaging.
365 Houston has compiled a list of featured exhibits currently on display at museums and renowned destinations throughout the city of Houston, including free offerings that are always open to the public.
Museums and exhibit venues have been organized by prominence in both ticketed and free admission categories. They’re also listed by area of focus (art, history and science, and kid-specific) in the sidebar at the top of this page.
Current Ticketed Museum Exhibits in Houston
These current exhibits require a dedicated ticket—either included with general admission or as a separate ticket—at several of Houston’s flagship museums, including The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), The Health Museum, Holocaust Museum Houston, and more.
Most museums offer free admission on certain days or during certain hours, though tickets to some exhibits are still required.
One of the Museum District’s crown jewels, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) routinely hosts some of the most prominent temporary exhibits in Houston each year. Joining the exhibits from the museum’s permanent collection, these curated crowd-pleasers consistently draw Houstonians and visitors alike.
- Jasper Johns: 100 Variations on a Theme | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 – Centering on a series of 100 unique prints the legendary artist made in 2015, this exhibit provides the suite of prints for viewers to explore the creative process at work behind his trademark mixed media pieces. Included with museum admission. Tickets are $17; $14 for ages 65+ and military; $10 for students and ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under.
- Norman Rockwell: American Freedom | Through Sunday, March 22, 2020 – MFAH hosts the first comprehensive exhibition devoted to the iconic Norman Rockwell paintings of the Four Freedoms as outlined by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Tickets are $23; $18 for 65+, military, students, and ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under.
Another must-see Museum District landmark, Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) is best known for its amazing halls of Paleontology and Ancient Egypt exhibit, along with the Cockrell Butterfly Center, gem and minerals hall, planetarium, and more. You can often find discounted admission to HMNS by clicking here.
- Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries | Through Sunday, March 22, 2020 – Explore the ancient mysterious formation of these massive stones with a look at scientific research, hundreds of original artifacts (many of which make their U.S. debut), and modern discoveries. Tickets are $30; $21 for ages 3 to 11 and 62+; free for ages 2 and under.
- The Art of the Brick | Through Sunday, March 29, 2020 – Artist Nathan Sawaya transforms the playful LEGO brick into a sophisticated art form, with original sculptures and re-imagined versions of famous masterpieces like Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Tickets are $30; $21 for ages 3 to 11 and 62+; free for ages 2 and under.
In the Museum District, the Health Museum is a Smithsonian-affiliate kid-friendly staple that invites museum-goers to consider the human body in all of its capabilities and the ways we can keep it healthy, thanks in part to marvelous advances in medical science.
- Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World | Through Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Created by Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., this exhibit examines the origins of pathogens, how they spread, and the ways to address them in a world where humans, animals, and the environment have deep, intricate connections. Included with museum admission. Tickets are $10; $8 for ages 3 to 12 and 65+; free for ages 2 and under.
Through a reflective journey of the events in Europe in the 1930s and 40s, Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) provides an educational experience that promotes responsible individual behavior, cultivates civility, and pursues social justice by exploring human rights and the horrors of hatred, prejudice, and apathy.
- Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields/Revolución en los Campos | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 – Through photographs, interviews, and documentary footage, HMH traces the life of legendary activist Dolores Huerta and her efforts in the farm workers movement of the 1960s and 70s. Tickets are $15; $10 for military and ages 65+; free for college students and ages 18 and under.
One of twelve Asia Society locations in the country, the Asia Society Texas Center in the Museum District hosts public programs and exhibitions to increase knowledge of Asia, enhance dialogue, and generate new ideas across the fields of art and culture, business, and education.
- Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form: Works by Miya Ando | Through Sunday, March 29, 2020 – Inspired by the important Buddhist text known as the Heart Sutra, artist Miya Ando exhibits a site-specific work that responds to the unique Asia Society Texas Center building, with references to elemental materials such as metal, light, water, and wood. Tickets are $8; $5 for students and ages 65+; free for ages 12 and under.
Located in the historic Galveston Orphans Home, The Bryan Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of historical artwork, artifacts, documents, and exhibits relating to the American West and Texas.
Next to Ellington International Airport, Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) is home to more than 40 displays of significant flying vehicles, hundreds of artifacts related to the history of flight, and flying simulators. In additional, the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame pays tribute to the contributions of native Texans, including Howard Hughes and former President George H.W. Bush.
- 1945: World War II’s Last Year in Pictures | Saturday, January 25 through Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II, LSFM presents a photography exhibit featuring forty iconic images from the last year of World War II, capturing the reality, sacrifice, and raw emotion of the men and women who fought to preserve freedom on a global basis. Tickets are $14.95; $12.95 for ages 12 to 17 and 65+; $9.95 for ages 4 to 11; free for ages 3 and under.
- Courage & Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience | Saturday, January 25 through Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Chronicling the stories of Japanese Americans during and immediately after World War II, this exhibit delves into the bravery, integrity, and extraordinary support of Japanese Americans as they struggled through a turbulent time that saw many forced into isolated incarceration camps. Tickets are $14.95; $12.95 for ages 12 to 17 and 65+; $9.95 for ages 4 to 11; free for ages 3 and under.
In North Houston, the National Museum of Funeral History (NMFH) houses the country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man’s oldest cultural customs. Visitors to NMFH can discover the mourning rituals of ancient civilizations, see up-close the authentic items used in the funerals of U.S. presidents and popes, and explore the rich heritage of the industry that cares for the dead.
- Icons in Ash | Temporarily on view in 2020 – NMFH further explores ways to memorialize loved ones with Icons In Ash, an exhibit of contemporary fine artist Heide Hatry’s memorial portraits, crafted from the cremated remains of the deceased subjects. Tickets are $10; $9 for ages 55+ and military; $7 for ages 6 to 11; free for ages 5 and under.
Houston is home to many renowned institutions like the Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston (CAMH), Moody Center for the Arts, and more where you can explore current exhibits for free, with opportunities to donate to the institutions.
The Menil Collection is a uniquely beloved art museum and campus housing the permanent collection started by John and Dominique de Menil. The main building anchors a campus that also features the Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and Menil Drawing Institute. Two further buildings are dedicated to single artists (Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin) and another to year-long installation projects.
Admission to the Menil Collection and its buildings on campus is free and open to the public.
- Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale | Through Sunday, February 2, 2020 | FREE – This exhibition of significant Aboriginal artwork explores the concept of meaningful Aboriginal spaces that include diverse terrains and land—including areas on which cities have been built and painful histories of violent colonialism have taken place.
- Collection Close-Up: Of Heaven and Earth | Through Sunday, March 15, 2020 – The Menil Collection surveys the representation of birds in the history of art since the third millenium BCE by highlighting pieces of its permanent collection, including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from around the world.
Located across the street from the MFAH campus, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (CAMH) hosts ever-rotating exhibitions that its curators deem the most exciting international, national, and regional art of our time. Housed in a striking stainless steel building, the museum has two galleries. Admission is always free. Donations at the door are welcomed, but not required.
- Will Boone: The Highway Hex | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 | FREE – The Houston-born and Los Angles-based artist Will Boone explores the distance between these two locations with new works that include a site-specific installation, paintings, and sculptures.
- Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody | Through Sunday, March 22, 2020 | FREE – The first solo museum presentation of the New Orleans-based artist and filmmaker, CAMH will exhibit new and recent films and videos by the artist, addressing themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States.
Located in historic Third Ward, Project Row Houses is comprised of a city block containing 39 structures that highlight its community-based mission of supporting people, ideas, and causes while encouraging artists to extend their practice into a social context. Project Row Houses host artists during bi-annual events called Artist Rounds, in which they’re invited to utilize the structures to engage and preserve the community. Admission is free and open to the public.
- Round 50: Race, Health and Motherhood | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 | FREE – Site-specific installations explore the Black maternal mortality rate as it relates to systemic racist structures prevalent in the healthcare industry, and how this national health care issues has local ramifications in Third Ward and other Houston neighborhoods.
- Cause Number: 02-F-00151 | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 | FREE – Houston-based artist Rabea Ballin focuses attention on the number given to Sandra Bland during her arrest in July 2015, how people are dehumanized through this process, and the consequences of social injustice related to Sandra Bland’s death.
Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) in the Museum District
In the heart of the Museum District, the Houston Museum of African American Culture engages visitors of every race and background with rotating art exhibitions, film screenings, tours, educational programming and more, that help explore and preserve the materials and intellectual culture of African and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest region, and the African Diaspora. Admission to HMAAC is always free, though donations are welcomed but not required.
- Vicki Meek: 3 Decades of Social Commentary | Through Sunday, February 16, 2020 | FREE – This retrospective examines the trajectory of artworks by Professor Vicki Meek, created over the past three decades, that investigate social conditions affecting the African American community. Through a variety of mixed media works, HMAAC explores the artist’s examination and will also present several community conversations that revolve around topics represented in the work.
While it’s far from a museum, Discovery Green and the adjacent Avenida Houston are well known for their interactive, striking, and compelling public art installations. The park’s art installations are always free to the public.
- Sonic Playground: Yuri Suzuki | Through Sunday, February 23, 2020 | FREE – From Japanese artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, this temporary playground offers visitors a chance to twist, modify, and transmit sound in unusual and playful ways.
- Paloma | Through Monday, February 24, 2020 | FREE – This site-specific installation by French creative studio Pitaya utilizes dynamic LED lights after dusk to illuminate a series of 200 colorful aluminum “origami” birds, creating the illusion of flight.
- Here and Now by Lina Dib | Through Monday, February 24, 2020 | FREE –Accompanying Paloma, this sound installation from Houston-based artist and anthropologist Lina Dib explores ecological change and global migration with choreographed sounds that complement Pitaya’s scultpures for an immersive installation.
On the campus of Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art architectural beauty, hosting multiple immersive exhibitions throughout the year, as well as workshops, classes, and special events. Admission is always free and open to the public.
- Geoff Winningham: Changing Houston | Through Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | FREE – With the support of a 2018 Houston Arts Alliance grant, Rice University professor of visual arts Geoff Winningham presents a set of photographs that document changing elements of Houston and the interaction of both the natural and man-made landscape of the city.
- Off the Wall: Harold Mendez | Through Monday, August 24, 2020 | FREE – The inaugural artist for Rice Public Art’s new Off the Wall series, Harold Mendez’s site specific Field (Encounter) draws from photographic archives to explore forgotten histories of the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.
- Radical Revisionists: Contemporary African Artists Confronting Past and Present | Friday, January 24 through Saturday, May 16, 2020 | FREE – Featuring works by artists from Africa and the Diaspora, this exhibition examines the violent erasure of marginalized histories and the ways in which artists reinterpret Eurocentric tropes of race, representation and colonial narratives through contemporary, Afrocentric lenses.
From its home in Midtown, Lawndale Art Center focuses on emerging, up-and-coming local and regional artists, giving them exposure in its four galleries, garden, and the massive 3,200-square-foot wall on the building’s northeast-facing wall. Admission is free.
- Virginia Lee Montgomery: Sky Loop | Saturday, January 18, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020 | FREE – Exploring a new artistic direction, Virginia Lee Montgomery introduces a multi-disciplinary project that presents a rigorous and metaphysical analysis of Hurrican Harvey. The filmmaker utilizes archival footage, footage shot of Harvey as she weathered the storm with her mother, and footage shot from her studio and alongside Buffalo Bayou.
- Shawne Major: Folie à Deux | Saturday, January 18, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020 | FREE – The mixed-media collages of Shawne Major reflect the “interior world of intensely codependent relationships” with colorful overlapping layers of objects that include ropes, holiday lights, and charger cables among other materials.
On the University of Houston campus in Third Ward, Blaffer Art Museum offers free exhibits, publications, and public programming for a participatory experience in understanding the force of contemporary art.
- Gareth Long: Kidnappers Foil | Through Saturday, March 14, 2020 | FREE – In this immersive moving image installation, artist Gareth Long dives into the social, cultural, and media histories of amateur American filmmaking with simultaneous projections of existing copies of Texan filmmaker Melton Barker’s work through its various mediums.
- Paul Mpagi Sepuya | Through Saturday, March 14, 2020 | FREE – The first major museum survey of contemporary artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya traces his work across the last 13 years, exploring his deconstruction of traditional portraiture through layering, fragmentation, and the perspective of the black, queer gaze
- Mariam Ghani: What We Left Unfinished | Saturday, January 18 through Saturday, March 14, 2020 | FREE – The Afghan-American artist explores how otherwise abstract political policy becomes manifest in people and places in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. In this exhibition, the artist presents five unfinished Afghan feature films shot between 1978 and 1991.
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) in Midtown
Opened in 2015, the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) features five stages that host 100 to 329 attendees across various spaces for performing arts productions, gallery exhibitions, rehearsal studios, and more. MATCH serves many of the smaller performing arts companies, local artists, and cultural arts organizations in the city, as well as playing host to traveling performers, musicians, artists, and theater groups.
- My Father’s Daughter: Byzantine Art in the Modern World by Joni Zavitsanos | Thursday, January 23 through Thursday, February 6, 2020 | FREE – Exhibiting the work of Joni Zavitsanos alongside her father’s, My Father’s Daughter utilizes the principles of Byzantine iconography to create both ancient and modern imagery that resonates with audiences in a unique way.
Art Car Museum near Washington Avenue
A Houston tradition for over thirty years, the Art Car Parade sends jaw-dropping cars, bikes, skaters, and motorized creatures rolling down the streets of Downtown and Allen Parkway. Founded by Ann and James Harithas, the Art Car Museum continues the spirit of the popular parade by providing exhibit space for artworks on view temporarily, as well as some of the remolded vehicles that dazzle in the yearly spectacle.
- Landscape | Through Sunday, February 23, 2020 | FREE – The 14th Annual Open Call Exhibition highlights the works of the first 100 artists to submit their interpretation of the “Landscape” theme. The artworks are created by contemporary artists in Houston and from around the nation.
Located next to CAMH, the Jung Center offers more than 200 classes each year on topics including relationships, ethics, religious studies, expressive arts, writing, mediation and more. In addition, Jung Center also features a free art gallery with rotating exhibits from emerging and established local, regional, and national artists.
- Ron Hartgrove and Leila McConnell | Through Thursday, January 30, 2020 | FREE – Combining works from modernist painter Leila McConnell and abstract artist Ron Hartgrove, this exhibition casts light on an artistic conversation between the artists, drawing on inspiration from Carl Jung with bold, explosive color.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is one of the only museums in the country dedicated to the art of making things by hand. In addition to checking out its exhibits, visitors to HCCC can witness artists-in-residence from around the country as they create original art from materials like clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood or found/recycled materials. Admission is free.
- In Residence: 12th Edition | Saturday, January 18 through Sunday, March 22, 2020 | FREE – Celebrating the Artist Residency Program at HCCC, this 12th edition of the showcase includes a varied range of artists that embrace change, diversity, and openness in their explorations. Featured artists include Antonius-Tín Bui, Zoe Gross, Heather L. Johnson, Eunsil Leem, Joyce Lin, Robert Raphael, Jared Theis, and Meg Wachs.
- Escaping Earth: The Kinetic Work of Casey Curran | Saturday, January 25 through Sunday, March 29, 2020 | FREE – Curran’s first solo exhibition outside of Washington State, Escaping Earth presents kinetic sculptures that reflect the complexities found within nature, art, and architecture. In addition, asteroid paintings and installations explore the haunting beauty of human innovation and its aftermath.
- Drawn to the Work: Illustration and Craft in Conversation | Saturday, January 25 through Sunday, March 29, 2020 | FREE – Collecting the works of Aurélie Guillaume, Chenlu Hou, and Aya Kakeda, this exhibition of traditional and digital illustrations alongside works in craft materials explores the intersection of these artistic disciplines, as well as conveying unique stories within the expressive works.
Since 1981, Houston Center for Photography (HCP) in Montrose has hosted ongoing exhibits of renowned artists, up-and-coming photographers, and students that take part in classes or workshops offered at the small visual artists’ organization. Admission is free and open to the public.
- 2020 Print Auction Exhibition | Friday, January 17 through Sunday, February 9, 2020 | FREE – The annual auction exhibition brings together 68 photographs from emerging photographers to icons of the medium, thanks to contributions from artists and institutions from around the world.
Located in Midtown, Station Museum of Contemporary Art has spent two decades hosting local, national, and international exhibitions that seek to broaden public awareness of the cultural, political, economic, and personal dimensions of art. Admission is free and open to the public.
One of the city’s oldest non-profit art organizations and a staple for contemporary visual art exhibitions and community classes, Art League Houston embraces contemporary approaches offering modern curatorial programming, community-building through art education, and outreach to the under-served communities. Admission is free and open to the public.
- Piñatasthetic by Justin Favela, Josué Ramirez and Giovanni Valderas | Friday, January 17 through Saturday, February 29, 2020 | FREE – Employing piñata-making techniques, material and methodology, the three artists, based in cities across the country, provide a counter narrative to the appropriation of the symbol and cultural staple of Latinx identity.
- teenage cream by Alex Guillen and Dana Suleymanova | Friday, January 17 through Saturday, February 29, 2020 | FREE – In this two-person exhibition, the artists present ceramic, sculpture and new media work that explore femininity and the political discourse surrounding women’s bodies as they look for ways to claim agency of their own narratives.
- Gone by Carmen Flores | Friday, January 17 through Saturday, February 29, 2020 | FREE – The Texas-based artist examines the proliferation of violence in our contemporary society with delicate, intimate drawings of flowers with red pencil, graphite and thread on white handkerchiefs, representing the stories of those that are no longer with us.
Since 1976, Archway Gallery has been Texas’ oldest artist-owned gallery, presenting monthly exhibitsuseum of sculpture, pottery, and paintings across a wide range of media and styles. Admission is free and open to the public.
- Urban Observations by Joel Anderson | Through Thursday, January 30, 2020 | FREE – Houston’s own Joel Anderson presents a series of encaustic paintings, made using a mix of beeswax with damar resin that was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C.E. In these works, Anderson offers new perspectives on Houston, including the iconic skyline.
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