You can’t spell heart without art, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, art is as big as everything else folks love about the state. From tiny off the beaten path museums to world-renowned collections, there’s an artistic endeavor for any kind of enthusiast in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Kimbell Art Museum
This small outpost in Fort Worth’s Arts District is beloved not just for its cozy vibe, lush outdoor landscape and outstanding exhibitions (especially visiting Impressionist collections), but also for its bespoke design, courtesy of famed architect Louis Kahn. In addition to the art on the walls, a popular draw is simple, chef-crafted lunches at the Pavilion Café. Revamped by Renzo Piano in late 2013 (who also designed Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center), the new Pavilion opened to house even more impressive pieces.
Located in the Design District, this unique gallery specializes in contemporary works by British artists in a wonderfully minimalist space. Co-founders George Michael (yes, that one) and Kenny Goss make use of every artful corner to inventively display pieces by new and mid-career art professionals. Check their events schedule for lectures, tours and even performances with or surrounding visiting artists.
The little gallery that could was borne from a desire to showcase local and emerging talent in the heart of Dallas’ artsy Deep Ellum enclave, and to that end, it’s run and curated by artists who volunteer their time. From photography to paintings and digital art, the exhibitions here often reflect and embrace the neighborhood’s gritty, heartfelt aesthetic.
Dallas Museum of Art
One of the country’s largest art museums, the Dallas Museum of Art is situated smack dab in the middle of America’s biggest urban arts district. The DMA draws a huge rotation of major exhibits, from jewelry and textiles and visual arts. Recently ditching general admission fees (special exhibits are $8), it’s a must for residents and out-of-towners alike. Popular attractions include the Late Nights party series; Arts & Letters Live, a showcase of literary talent; workshops and tours galore. Because who doesn’t like free?!
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
Relocated from its original location near Amarillo, this Old West institute spotlights stories and artifacts from the colorful lives of pioneering women who helped settle the West—and not just on horseback. Writers, artists and even entertainers share the limelight to give full insight into cowboy culture.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
This sleek venue is Fort Worth’s newest museum and one of its most exciting. With an eye for post-World War II art in every medium including film, the Modern presents compelling collections inside an eye-catching space. In addition to exhibitions, museum programs include First Fridays featuring an evening fete and tour; occasional trunk shows; architecture tours; events for the kids; and seasonal gatherings.
Nasher Sculpture Center
Another major star in the Dallas Arts District, the Renzo Piano-designed space is home to the works of sculptors from all over the world. Its warm wood-and-glass interior inspires a sense of Zen, and a stroll through the lush gardens out back is a must. When weather permits, lunch on the patio from the Wolfgang Puck café provides a tasty respite.
Crow Asian Art Collection
Right across the street from the Nasher sits an incredible collection of Asian art amassed by Dallas magnate Trammell Crow and his wife Margaret. Pieces hail from Southeast Asia, India, China and Japan, ranging in size from instruments and vases to full-scale battle armor. A sculpture garden offers peace amidst the city bustle and grand statues from temples and tombs overseas. The Collection hosts tours, lectures and yoga and tai chi classes all month.