Though artists have lived here for years, Austin's visual arts scene is still in its nascent stages. So where can you go check it out? Here are a handful of arty spots, both high falutin' and not so much.
Art on 5th hosts a Dr. Seuss exhibition every year that I absolutely adore, where you get to check out his political cartoons and artwork -- his first love, even before children's books.
AMOA Laguna Gloria is like the stately, elegant grandmother of Austin art, teaching her young charges to draw and paint in the parlor. I mean that literally: Laguna Gloria runs a terrific summer art school for kids, and what backdrop for summer camp could be better than a 12-acre stretch of green, with a mansion overlooking Town Lake?
A sweet little spot for a Saturday stroll: Umlauf houses 100 sculptures on its Secret Garden-esque grounds from artist Charles Umlauf, and hosts Wednesday and Friday morning yoga classes outside.
In our local art scene, Arthouse straddles the space between old guard and new, situated in a tony spot of central downtown real estate, but with all the rebellious spirit of an east austin complex (albeit a very expensive and clean one). You'll find both local and non art exhibiting here, with a beautiful newish rooftop lounge in which to sip wine and feel fancy.
An old video rental store converted into an art gallery-cum-yoga studio, Black Lagoon houses a wide range of edgy, contemporary photography, paintings, and even jewelry. If you're looking to buy, you'll be pleased to note that most art here is relatively affordable.
The name almost says it all, but the work of Women & Their Work is more far-reaching and communal than you might expect. While inside you'll find visual art, videos, literary readings, and performances, outside, you'll find Women & Their Work in classrooms, where they hold in-school performances with artists and professional development for teachers.
A fetching hipster collective of graphic designers, Public School hosts regular art/cocktail parties inside their teensy east 7th studio that are always a delight. These young gentleman upstarts have designed for the likes of Chronicle Books, Time Magazine, and Iron and Wine, and though ridiculously talented, personal experience tells me that get-togethers with these guys are laid-back and groovy.
The Blanton is such a local treasure, hosting creative exhibitions from global talent as well as an impressive collection of Old World and Latin American art, as well as some pop art gems from Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. If you've never been, check out their regular B-Scene parties, where they bring in live music and generous supplies of wine.