Experience Exceptional Art in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas has a reputation for being a hub of creativity, particularly as it relates to a very active live music scene. In fact (in addition to being the state capital and government seat) Austin is considered the “live music capital of the world,” and understandably so given its role as home to both the annual South by Southwest and Austin City Limits festivals. Not a bad designation for which to claim ownership.

As further proof of its creative credentials, Austin has served as the backdrop for many great movies including cult classics such as “Office Space.” Additionally, before many of us knew who he was, Matthew McConaughey uttered some of the best one-liners in comedic film history at numerous locations throughout Austin in 1993’s “Dazed and Confused.”

Certainly there are a lot of incredible things to experience in Austin, including its arts and cultural offerings, and exceptional art galleries and art museums. As it turns out, Austin is a great place to see art, and the restaurant options are top-notch to boot. Of course, you don’t have to go on an Austin art and food immersion tour, but in the words of David Wooderson, it would be a lot cooler if you did. Our list of suggestions starts with a non-profit located in central Austin which is dedicated to the advancement of women in the arts.


1. Women and Their Work

Women and their Work is a unique arts center that has been in operation since the late 1970s and was established in order to recognize the value of the extraordinary contributions that women are making in the arts. The organization works with local Austin female artists to provide support, both financial and otherwise, and an entre to give voice to their creative expression. It has provided tools and resources to over 200 female artists since its inception.

Women and Their Work represents women of all different backgrounds and cultures, and encourages aspiring female artists to take creative risks and make “adventurous work.” Women and Their Work curates art that creates awareness and discussion around feminist issues and gives artists a platform to speak their truth. This is demonstrated in the various contemporary artworks displayed through the changing exhibitions. As evidence of its significance, the Smithsonian recently acquired archival materials from Women and Their Work, but there remains a wealth of incredible artworks to experience at their Austin studio.

Women and Their Work

1311 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX


2. The Blanton Museum of Art

Approximately two miles from Women and Their Work, the Blanton Museum is located at the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It is clear the Longhorns have a healthy appreciation for art, with an impressive permanent collection of over 19,000 works. Self-described as “the primary art collection of the city of Austin,” it includes a vast inventory of European paintings and drawings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art.Blanton Museum of Art, photo by Ethan Lundgaard

The museum’s works tell many interesting stories, including one relating to the relationship they forged with iconic 70s superstar Farrah Fawcett, who was both the subject matter of art as well as the artist. Fawcett, who passed away in 2009, was an art major at UT Austin before she was discovered by Hollywood, and her legacy includes artwork she produced and bequeathed to the museum upon her death.

Fawcett also left her entire personal collection of art to the museum, which includes an Andy Warhol portrait of the actress/artist. Warhol produced the piece (and a twin duplicate work) in 1980 and it is reflective of the recognizable style for which the renowned artist is known. Of some relative intrigue, the other of the two Warhol portraits of Fawcett was the subject of a dispute between actor Ryan O’Neal, with whom Fawcett was in a relationship for three decades, and UT Austin. O’Neal challenged UT’s claim to the second piece, which was in his possession upon Fawcett’s death, and he ultimately prevailed. While we don’t know the eventual fate of that piece, we are glad to know that the other Warhol portrait of the beloved actress is in good hands at the Blanton.

The Blanton Museum of Art

The University of Texas at Austin

200 E. Martin Luther King Jr.Boulevard, Austin, TX


3. Clarksville Historic District Galleries

About a five-minute drive from the Blanton Museum is the lovely, quaint and walkable neighborhood known as the Clarksville Historic District.View from HOPE Outdoor Gallery, photo by Phillip LeConte

As quintessentially cool as the greater Austin community, the district includes a colorful graffiti park known as the HOPE outdoor gallery, a variety of upscale and casual dining, charming bungalows and last but not least, a handful of world-class art galleries, including:

The Davis Gallery

With almost two dozen featured artists, the Davis Gallery takes pride in representing local and regional Texas artists, including painters, photographers, printmakers and sculptors. With a primarily contemporary art specialty, the Davis Gallery is a respected and award-winning art locale, with a warm and welcoming Texas ambiance.

The Davis Gallery

837 W. 12th Street, Austin, TX



The Wally Workman Gallery

Located in a beautiful 100-year-old historic building that was once a residence, Wally Workman Gallery features approximately 50 artists, with frequently rotating exhibitions.(source: Wally Workman Facebook page)

Although its setting and space may be historic, the gallery features sophisticated contemporary artworks, which fill the space with vibrant color. The gallery has been a mainstay of the Austin art community for over 45 years.

Wally Workman Gallery

1202 W. 6th Street, Austin, TX


Stephen L. Clark Gallery

We love when art and cinematography collide, which is another reason the Stephen L. Clark Gallery is an Austin treasure. Clark is somewhat of a who’s who in the art industry, and shared workspace with the late screenwriter and photographer Bill Wittliff, of Lonesome Dove fame, up until Wittliff’s death.

Wittliff adapted the famous book by Larry McMurtry into a television series, and Clark represents many of his works, specifically prints of photos he captured from the Lonesome Dove production. As such, Clark’s gallery preserves the legacy of Wittliff and a host of other writers, photographers and artists, including such names as Russell Lee and Kate Breakey, making it a gem among gems in the Austin gallery world.

Stephen L. Clark Gallery

508 Baylor Street, Austin, TX


4. Carpenters Hall Restaurant

We believe that great food enhances the overall experience of a day viewing art, and is its own kind of cultural endeavor. A short five-minute drive from the galleries, Carpenters Hall is located within the Carpenter Hotel. Anyone who has traveled knows that hotel food can often be a swing and a miss, but by all indications, Carpenters Hall hits the target.Steak (source: Carpenters Hall Facebook page)

The hotel has a funky vibe, in a “Mad Men” meets bohemian bungalow sort of way. Similarly, the restaurant offers a unique dining experience reflecting “the roots of global cuisine that have made Texas what it is today.” The name of the restaurant plays off the labor union concept, and given the rave reviews, we are ready to pay our dues. The menu is hard to characterize, with an eclectic mix of styles of food, including such entrees as shrimp and grits, a “Tex-Mez” platter and Plancha Quail.

Carpenters Hall

400 Josephine Street, Austin, TX



Ready to plan your trip to Austin, Texas to experience great art? Or if you prefer to peruse original works from the comfort of your home, check out UGallery’s website to discover new artworks weekly.