Spring into the Museum District
There’s just something about springtime in Houston. It’s that glorious season when the flowers are in bloom, the colors are brilliant and the weather almost always perfect. There are so many reasons to head to the Museum District this spring – here are a few of the big draws.
Got a few days off for Spring break? With several opportunities to have fun for free, the Museum District is a great place to go. Check out the free admission times and pack a picnic for one of the nearby parks.
The Children’s Museum of Houston is serving up some special treats for spring break – offering a full schedule of activities from March 9 to 17. Children can roll in the human hamster ball, soar on the bungee trampoline and climb to the top of a coconut tree. The 4th Annual Shaving Cream Pi (e) Fight, scheduled March 14, celebrates the number 3.14 and Albert Einstein’s birthday in a most unusual way.
For those who are fascinated with the changing seasons, the John C. Freeman Weather Museum offers its Spring Weather Camp. Ages 5 to 7 are invited to Spring Weather Wonders, from 9 a.m. to noon on March 12. The Spring Weather Navigator course is designed for ages 7 to 11 and scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon on Wedesday, March 13. Ages 12 to 17 are invited to Spring Storm Navigator from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 14. Courses are taught by meteorologists. Class sign is limited, so sign up right away.
The flowers are in bloom even indoors in the district. Houston Center for Photography’s March exhibit, called “An Unusual Garden,” features the work of four photographers focused on a garden-like theme.
Spring is also a great time to not only pick your favorite animal but to observe your favorite plant at the Houston Zoo. The Zoo’s horticulture team spends over 20,000 hours each year planting, pruning and working tirelessly to keep the landscape healthy, vibrant, and colorful for its animals and guests. Focusing on native Texas species, animal enclosures also feature plants that the various animals are accustomed to, highlighting the importance of regional plant life.
At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, visitors can explore an indoor, simulated tropical rain forest. Enter a stunning, three-story glass structure built around a 50-foot waterfall. The exhibit is filled with exotic plants and hundreds of gorgeous, living butterflies.
For more brilliant color indoors, a must-see is the new “Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait” exhibit at the The Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Featured are Islamic masterworks from Kuwait’s renowned al-Sabah Collection including spectacular Mughal jewelry, illuminated manuscripts, exquisite ceramics, and intricately decorated ceiling panels. More than 60 examples from the 8th to 18th centuries are on view, made in the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Lawndale Art Center presents five exhibitions opening Friday, March 15, with artist talks beginning at 6 p.m. Mike Beradino's exhibition "Crystal Palace" uses a hovering robot and laser projector to map the John M. O'Quinn Gallery. In the Cecily E. Horton Gallery, "REady MADE" features the work of six artists, who have integrate discarded items with clay and ceramic processes, to create their special works . The exhibition, featuring pieces by Brian Benfer, Sharbani Das Gupta, Jessica Dupuis, John Emerson, Jeff Forster and Kamila Szczesna, is presented in conjunction with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) 47th Annual Conference, March 20-23. In the Grace R. Cavnar Gallery, Richard Nix's exhibition, "the Breathless Bagatelle," includes process drawings made through set rules referencing geometric principles. In the Project Space, Katie Wynne creates an installation of colors and textures for a chain of non-events. In the Mary E. Bawden Sculpture Garden, Rahul Mitra's "Box City," constructed of hundreds of painted cardboard boxes he recycles from trash, echoes slums of his native India and Favela shantytowns.
Sail on over to the The Health Museum to take in the colorful "Voyage" exhibit, featuring amazing work by hundreds of young patients in the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital Arts in Medicine Program. Voyage features three large-scale art projects along with a photo series of patients working on additional projects. The larger art pieces were created over the past few years and include an original mural designed specifically for The Health Museum. Bring your family to Health & Wellness Week at The Health Museum, March 11 - 16, and check out ways to get your body moving, healthy and fit! Science shows, hands-on experiments, mini fitness classes, arts and crafts, snacks and health screenings for both kids and adults fill the week with knowledge to arm the community with smart choices and healthy habits. This year, the museum's get moving message will be strengthened by local sports superstars and cheerleaders.
You won’t want to miss the Houston Museum of African American Culture celebration of the Works of Jesse Sifuentes, open from March 5 to 25. Sifuentes’ mastery of his craft gives life to ceramic sculptures and animals that will be displayed in the show. An art professor at Texas Southern University, Jesse has worked on numerous public work projects like his mural in the East End, "the Birthplace of Houston."
Stop by the The Jung Center of Houston to see the colorful works of artist Kia Neill in her exhibit, "Metaphysical Remnants." It opens March 26 and runs through April. Neill’s mixed wet media works result from experimental processes and a meditation on form and pattern within nature. She manipulates puddles of paint to create imagery reminiscent of microorganisms, landscapes, and sea creatures.
For more art, visit the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for "Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas & Gina Pane." The exhibit is on view from March 23 through June 30. This selection of works by two renowned artists spanning the courses of their careers. Designed to function as two solo exhibitions staged in a single space at the same time, this exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to investigate the development of each artist's practice. Complementary and shared aspects of Gina Pane's and Joan Jonas' works are highlighted, as are the differences that characterize each artist's body of work.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft presents "Constructing Solitude," a solo exhibition by Janice Jakielski, on view through May 5. Drawing from women's fashions from bygone eras, Jakielski has created a stunning collection of handmade headdresses. Brilliant candy-like colors and nostalgic images overwhelm the senses in this theatrical installation, which offers imaginative new ways of seeing, hearing and participating in the world around us.
And speaking of color and the imagination, there’s no better time to visit the Czech Center Museum Houston’s Ottervik Collection, a permanent display of 1,289 pieces of colorful glass and ceramic pieces created from 1918 to 1938.
Need a break from all those hues and shades? Get lost looking for hidden colors in the black canvases at the Rothko Chapel. Or, go outdoors from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays to experience the physical and meditative benefits of Tai Chi, the traditional Chinese martial art, led by certified instructor Henderson Smith.
Don’t miss the final days of “Wheel of Everyday Life,” which closes March 17 at Rice University Art Gallery. In the installation Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg explores her interests in everyday consumerism and forms of Eastern spirituality – intertwining supermarket, fast food and big-box store logos with sacred Buddhist mandalas and cosmological diagrams used for meditation.
Love is in the air during the spring months. The Menil Collection's exhibit "the Progress of Love" closes this month on March 17. The show explores romantic love, self-love, friendship, familial affect, love of one’s country, and other bonds in and around the continent. Though the exhibition is weighted towards art produced specifically about love in Africa, works that might otherwise be considered more “Western” in orientation are included as well, calling attention to the global exchange through which such concepts develop, and to both the shared and distinct aspects of the experience of love.
The Children’s Museum of Houston celebrates Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel’s life and his dedication to the pursuit of learning through imagination. From Feb. 28 to March 8, children will delight in the many Seuss-style activities, among them delving into a Bartholomew and the Oobleck ooey gooey science experiment, building their very own Cat in the Hat top hat, or making elephant ears like Horton’s to hear: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”