48 Hours Getting Artsy In Houston

"Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness." ~Anni Albers

I took a 13-hour road trip to Texas. It would be my third trip to Houston, and my time was limited. Houston is a city that embraces its local artists and celebrates their creativity on almost every corner. I was enthusiastic to check out some of its public art, a museum, and a couple of creative beer gardens. Join me in exploring the artsy side of Houston with only 48 hours to spare.

My first stop was 12-acres of lush green space located across the street from my hotel in downtown Houston. Discovery Green is home to a recreational lake, an eco-friendly restaurant, fountains, two outdoor concert venues, and the city’s coolest art installations. At the first public art exhibit, I stood dwarfed between two giant rectangular Rubik Cubes in shades of blue, green, red, and orange called Synchronicity of Color. A few steps away was a bronze cast statue known as the House (Heart). On the Avenida de América side of the park was a large red, white and blue multi-figured sculpture of a dog, church, hedge, chimney, phantom, and tree called the Monument Au Fantome which means Monument to the Phantom, or Imaginary City. A fun interactive exhibit is the Listening Vessels. The vessels are two stone sculptures designed so a person sitting within the concave of one can speak and be heard by someone sitting within the other. Discovery Green rekindled my childlike enthusiasm for art. It was pure joy.

My next stop was the Art Car Museum, a thematic display of repurposed cars into unique statement pieces of Pop Art. Each car is decorated inside and out with tile pieces, marble, seashells and paraphernalia from pop culture like hula dolls, tiny McDonald’s kid’s meal toys, and superhero figures. There are also automobile related photography, videography, and sculpture exhibits change out every few months. The Art Car Museum building itself is a chrome castle of art. If you happen to be in Houston during the month of April, don’t miss the annual Art Car Parade Weekend.  This event attracts over 250 vehicle visionaries and their artistic creations. Even if you aren’t a car fanatic, this museum should be on your list of art inspired things to do. Did I mention it is free to enter?

The Art Car Museum is currently open by appointment only.

A few miles from the Art Car Museum is a house estimated by Ripley’s Believe It or Not to being covered with over 50,000 cans. The Beer Can House is the creation of beer enthusiast and urban folk art legend John Milkovisch. As soon as you drive up, you know this is something special, for you are greeted by a Milkovisch soaring metal creation with the word Amen at the top and a sign with Live By Golden Rule hanging under it. The gate and side paneling of the dwelling are covered in flattened beer cans.  The porch ceiling and walls are wallpapered with beer labels. Multiple curtains of can lids hanging from rafters produce a musical symphony when the wind blows. Beer bottles have been inserted into the fence creating a glass wall. There are stone, metal, and glass statues throughout the front and back yards. The entire property is an environmentalist’s dream of recycled and refurbished products creating Houston’s most loved roadside attraction.

It is open but you will need to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times.