Summer is coming, and what better way to get out and about this season than by visiting the many museums or galleries located in the Coastal Bend? From fine arts institutions and eclectic galleries to history museums filled with culture, the options are plentiful. We’ve compiled a list of the “must visit” local museums and galleries this season.
Art Museum of South Texas
This fine arts institution is an anchor of Corpus Christi’s vibrant arts community. A diverse permanent collection of more than 1,850 artworks includes pieces from acclaimed artists such as Dorothy Hood, Salvador Dali, Sol Lewitt and Andy Warhol. The Dr. Clotilde “Dr. Cleo” P. Garcia Spanish Colonial Gallery, a permanent exhibit, showcases Spanish Colonial, pre-Columbian and contemporary works inspired and influenced by artisans of that time.
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
Unique to South Texas’ culture and history, this museum engages and educates visitors in science and history. Through exhibitions and collections of carefully selected works, 500 years’ worth of history is displayed — from historic shipwrecks of early explorers to decorative arts from area families.
Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures & Education Center
Founded by Mrs. Billie Trimble Chandler in the 1960s, the museum and education center acts as a bridge connecting Texas to Asia. It offers various educational classes and programs for students and the general public such as origami and calligraphy, along with visiting exhibitions from around the world.
The Queen of Tejano Music holds an important place in Corpus Christi’s history. Founded by the late singer Selena Quintanilla Perez’s family, the museum serves as a way for locals and visitors alike to celebrate the life and legacy of Selena. Iconic performance outfits, her Grammy award and other memorabilia are on display at the museum.
Art Center of Corpus Christi
Founded in 1972 by a small group of citizens, the center aims to nurture and promote regional artists and works as a service to our diverse community. Over the past 40 years, it has evolved into a thriving intersection of creativity and community with rotating exhibitions, art classes and more. The Studio C Gallery is also located within the center and hosts a variety of Texas artists.
K Space Contemporary
This local art institution is dedicated to presenting and promoting contemporary art. As a destination for creative exchange and experimentation, the gallery aspires to educate and support South Texas’ innovative art scene with 18-20 solo and group exhibitions a year within its three galleries. The gallery also participates in every First Friday ArtWalk, typically with new exhibition openings.
USS Lexington Museum
Having played an important role in the country’s defense for nearly 50 years, The USS Lexington is a national treasure. The museum instills pride and patriotism in the public through displays, ceremonies and educational programs that highlight the heroism of those who served.
Texas Surf Museum
Acting as the only surf museum in the state of Texas, this local staple explores the history of surfing and showcases the Lone Star State’s unique place within that history. Browse through exhibits featuring surf legends, learn about Pat Magee’s legacy or take a family photo in front of the iconic TSM car.
Rockport Center for the Arts
A hub for the lively Rockport art scene, this institution hosts a variety of exhibits, special events, educational workshops and classes for all ages, performing arts, a sculpture garden and much more. After 48 years at its previous location, the center moved its operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; its brand-new location is currently under construction and set to open later this year.
La Cueva Art Gallery & Gathering
Founded by Gaye and Gil Cuevas, La Cueva acts as a gallery and gathering space in Portland. The pair renovated their own home to create the gallery and exhibited works have included artists such as Gil himself, world-renowned Chicano artist Adan Hernandez and most recently Pepe Serna.
Texas Maritime Museum
The official Maritime Museum of Texas, this Rockport gem educates and excites the public about maritime history and its importance to the development and livelihood of our state. Preserved artifacts, documents, photographs and books illuminate this history.
The History Center for Aransas County
Showcasing local heritage and culture through outdoor and indoor exhibits, The History Center for Aransas County shares the stories of real people and their contributions to the area. Significant artifacts and documents are housed in this historic home in Rockport’s Live Oak Heights.
Instituto de Cultura Hispanica
Housed in the Lichtenstein House at Heritage Park, the museum highlights many places that share the Hispanic heritage. Part of the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica de Corpus Christi, this small museum aims to advance and promote the history of Hispanic culture and tradition in South Texas under one roof.
This contemporary art gallery, photography studio and venue adds to the ever-evolving arts and culture scene in downtown Corpus Christi. Owner and gallery curator Carlos Villarreal brings in local and national artists to showcase thought-provoking and modern works in varied mediums including photography, paintings and illustrative works.
Wind Way Gallery
Located in Rockport’s Historic District, this gallery has been a part of the thriving local art scene for over 20 years. The space showcases noted professional local artists with a variety of paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, glass and sculptures.
Port Aransas Art Center
A thriving center for the visual arts, the Port Aransas Art Center provides a place for artists and art patrons alike to gather and support one another. Founded by a group of local artists in the mid-’90s, the center offers educational classes for all ages and gallery space featuring work from talented artists, mostly from Texas.
Padre Island Art Gallery
Committed to showcasing the creative talents within the Coastal Bend community, the Padre Island Art Gallery displays art by over 100 local creatives living and working in the area. Exhibited pieces are drawn from a variety of mediums and the gallery offers numerous art classes for all ages.
Mi Vida Loca Gallery
A celebration of the art, fashion and decor of South Texas and the indigenous culture of Mexico, Mi Vida Loca Gallery was founded by Mark Clark and Tinker Trombley in 2018. Displaying Mexican-themed works primarily from South Texas artisans, the gallery provides a space for vibrant culture to be appreciated.