Travis County, Texas is a haven for art lovers looking to explore the world of art without spending a dime. From the renowned Blanton Museum of Art to the Jones Center, there are plenty of opportunities to discover the beauty of art without breaking the bank. The Blanton Museum of Art is one of Austin's most renowned museums, with over 18,000 works of art from ancient Greece to contemporary American and Latin American art. The Jones Center is another great option for art enthusiasts, with rotating exhibitions by renowned contemporary artists and a calendar full of cultural opportunities.
The Southwestern Culture Collection at Texas State University in San Marcos is also worth a visit, showcasing treasures from its vast collection in the worlds of film, literature, photography and music. The Eugene Barker History Center is another great option for those looking for free admission. This historic building serves as a history museum, craft emporium and art gallery that exclusively presents works by local artists over 50 years of age. The Black Studies Art Galleries are also worth a visit, showcasing the art, culture and history of Africa and the African diaspora.
Plus, there's nothing more iconic than Teresita Fernandez's Stacked Waters, the blue wall installation in the museum atrium, or Ellsworth Kelly's Austin, the colorful chapel-like structure that has quickly become synonymous with art in the city. In 1972, parts of the growing collection were exhibited in the galleries of the Harry Ransom Center, and in 1980, the gallery inside the Art Building was renamed Archer M. As they prepared for the state's centennial anniversary in 1936, politicians and other prominent citizens realized that Texas did not have a state museum. He boldly proposed that “somewhere in Texas, let's say in the capital, a cultural compass center, a research center that will become the Bibliothéque Nationale of the only state that began as an independent nation.” The African-American Presence in the Nineteenth Century in Texas is a permanent exhibition on African-American families in Austin.
It includes the only rooms that still stand and that housed people who were enslaved; it is currently in the middle of a restoration project that seeks to address the dark history of racial injustice in Austin. There is also an artists' gallery and a children's exhibition on African-American scientists and inventors. Travis County offers plenty of opportunities to explore art galleries without spending a dime. From historic buildings to modern installations, there are plenty of options for those looking to cultivate their appreciation for art.
Whether you're looking for ancient Greek artifacts or contemporary American works, Travis County has something for everyone.