If Spindletop is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Beaumont Texas, you’re missing out. This Texas Gulf Coast city has become a cultural hotspot, where you’ll find world-class botanical gardens, art galleries, theaters, and museums. Chief among them is the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), a long-standing institution that showcases permanent and rotating exhibits of modern and 19th- and 20th-century fine and folk art from around Texas.
More than 1,000 pieces of the Beaumont art museum’s permanent collection, from paintings and sculptures to prints and photography, can be viewed throughout the grounds. Highlights include pieces by Beaumont natives and world-renowned artists John Alexander and Paul Manes, whose works have been exhibited in such notable venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Other highlights include collages by award-winning artists Al Souza and Mary McCleary; an oil painting entitled Low Tide by Dallas native David Bates; and X-Log by University of North Texas graduate Helen Altman, who uses household objects in new, eye-opening ways to challenge viewers’ perspectives. Along with the wonders of its permanent collection, you will likely find the semi-permanent gallery dedicated to the works of Felix “Fox” Harris, with its 26 totem-like sculptures made from recycled materials, to be among the museum’s most striking pieces.
As many as 10 temporary exhibits will pass through the main gallery over the course of a year, featuring frontier Texas art, folk-art sculptures, or culturally significant photographs. Previous exhibits include David Aylsworth’s Either/And abstract paintings, Steve Murphy’s minimalist sculptures in It All Comes Down to This, and newcomer Teresa Baker’s experimental Shape, Line, What the Eye is Doing. At the exhibits’ debuts, the featured artists will typically give a gallery talk at the reception for museum patrons. Temporary works by local artists can also be found in the museum’s in-house café known as Two Magnolias, through a program called, fittingly, Café Arts. Check out AMSET’s upcoming exhibitions here.
Because, as Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist,” AMSET also offers a variety of programs designed to instill in kids of all ages a love of the arts. Ignite your child’s creativity at the Conn Take pArt Gallery, where kids take part in hands-on activities at different activity stations designed to make the art museum’s current exhibits more accessible. These activities, which have included making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos, edible sculptures, and dreidels during the holidays, change with the exhibits to maintain one consistent theme. The museum’s free C-Space Computer Lab provides iPads for child-friendly art education and simulated art-making during regular hours. The ArtVentures Summer Camps, Family Art Days, and Art-To-Go outreach program are also important ways AMSET serves the youth of the community.
But the staff and volunteers of AMSET want to make art-lovers out of Texans of all ages, which is why the museum offers tours to groups of virtually any size at no charge. Reservations are necessary because the education department will be tailoring your tour and activities to the ages and education levels represented in your group. Call (409) 832-3432 or fill out the online tour request form today and discover what treasures lay inside the amazing Art Museum of Southeast Texas!