Posted in: Arts Living Posted on: Jun 8th, 2015

Things to Do: Exploring Museums and Culture in Midtown, Houston

Photo Credit: framed by Ed Schipul | CC BY-SA 2.0

Arts and culture have a strong foothold in the Midtown section of Houston. In 2012, the area became a designated State of Texas Cultural Arts & Entertainment District, meaning that the arts serve a central role in the economic development of the area. There are numerous cultural things to do in Midtown, Houston, including checking out the area’s several museums, art festivals and theater companies.

Art in the Park

Art in the Park is an annual event that brings fine art and culture to the community. The festival features a number of artworks from local artists, as well as from artists based in more distant regions. All of the work featured in the festival is fine art, meaning it is made by hand and not machine produced. Categories for artworks include ceramics, three dimensional mixed media, fiber, drawing, painting, and several others. The festival is held at Elizabeth Baldwin Park and is open to all, with no admission charge.

Station Museum of Contemporary Art

Just one of the many museums in Midtown, Houston is the Station Museum of Contemporary Art. Since it is the museum’s goal to reflect the cultural diversity of the area, its exhibitions tend to feature a diverse range of artists,  hailing from Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Russia, among other places. It has also held solo exhibitions of works from local artists and group shows for Texan artists. Much of the artwork on display focuses on social issues of the day.

When an exhibition is up, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am until 6pm. It is closed between exhibitions and on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission to the museum is free.

The Ensemble Theater

Founded in 1976, the mission of the Ensemble Theater  is to enrich and enlighten the community and to provide a venue to present and preserve African American expression. One of the largest African American theaters in the country, the Ensemble Theater was formed by George Hawkins, who wanted to create more opportunities for African American actors. Along with producing several mainstage plays each season, the theater also has a young performers’ program, a children’s theater program, and an artist in residency program.

Houston Fire Museum

Located in an old fire station, the Houston Fire Museum aims to educate the public about the history of fire services in the city and to inform people about the importance of fire safety. One of the museum’s permanent exhibitions, “In Case of Fire…Yell FIRE!” traces the history of fire fighting in the city from its days as an all volunteer organization through the 1950s. The museum also sponsors a number of educational programs, such as fire safety story hours and guided tours of the exhibits. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am until 4pm. Membership, which runs $40 per year, grants an individual free admission to the museum. The museum also provides discounted memberships for current and retired firefighters, for $15 per year.

Midtown is an area of Houston that has seen a lot of growth and revitalization in recent years. The cultural and artistic offerings in the area are just one part of its rebirth.