Lawndale Art Center develops local contemporary artists and the audience for their art.
Lawndale is one of the only institutions in Houston that is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art with an emphasis on work by regional artists. Located at the edge of Downtown in the Museum District the organization utilizes its accessible location to present exhibitions, performances, lectures, film screenings and events, and offers an annual residency program to further the creative exchange of ideas among Houston's diverse communities. In all programming and activities, Lawndale strives to extend the center's outreach.
Lawndale includes four museum-quality galleries, three artist studios and an outdoor sculpture garden that facilitate its role as a vital cultural resource for Houston. A board Programming Committee made up of area artists and arts professionals meet twice per year to consider proposals and select artists and exhibitions for presentation.
There is no fee to submit proposal for an exhibition at Lawndale. A balance is sought among emerging, mid-career and established artists, as well as a wide range of two and three dimensional media and content. The committee gives special consideration to work that would not be shown in commercial or other museum venues due to its scale, ephemeral nature, or difficulty of installation. The schedule is intentionally flexible to allow for work to be shown within six months of its completion; accordingly, nothing is scheduled more than one year in advance. The committee also considers works from around the region that inform area artists and audiences about the most current themes and concepts in contemporary art, while remaining focused on Houston area artists.
Every year Lawndale Art Center hosts an area-wide open call juried survey show, called The Big Show, which provides exhibition access to area artists. Approximately 400 artists who live and work within a 100-mile radius of Houston, bring over 950 works of art to the Lawndale galleries for jurying over three days. A nationally known curator from outside of the region selects The Big Show from these entries presenting an annual snap shot of contemporary art in Houston.
Lawndale Art Center's most recent programming initiative was to launch the Artist Studio Program that provides studio space for three local artists along with a materials budget and a monthly stipend for a nine month period.
One of Lawndale Art Center's most anticipated events is the annual festival celebrating, Día de Los Muertos, featuring an open-call exhibition of over 250 contemporary interpretations of the Mexican folk art tradition, the retablo, created by area artists and enthusiasts. During this time Lawndale also works closely with area schools, focusing on at risk and low income schools, to educate students about the Mexican tradition using contemporary art as a context and features artworks from the students during the retablo exhibition. This program provides a critical bridge to Houston's Latino community and helps build awareness within the Mexican-American community for our other programming.
In addition, Lawndale also provides educational opportunities to area elementary, middle and high school-age children and to local college and university students through its teacher orientation program, internship program and guided tours and activities.