If you’re totally clueless about what to do this weekend, just drive around near downtown and you’re bound to run into an art reception, open house, festival or market.
Let me make this easier for you, so here are my picks for the weekend:
Let’s start with Friday evening when Fresh Arts, the nonprofit that helps artists in the business of art, celebrates the 13th anniversary edition of the Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM) at Winter St. Studios. This is Houston’s largest indoor event of its kind and, sadly, the last year as well. The $15 entrance fee for the ugly sweater-themed preview party Friday evening is totally worth it. Free admission for amazing shopping all day Saturday and Sunday. See who’s coming, what treats, drinks and entertainment will be offered and buy tickets at FreshArts.org. Winter Street Studios, 2nd floor, 2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX 77007.
Twenty-six years ago there was exactly one art event on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, ArtCrawl Houston. I’m guessing about the one part, but still, with more than 200 participating artists, 20 warehouse spaces, restaurants, galleries and other spaces this Saturday, ArtCrawl Houston is definitely the granddaddy of art events and the largest organized art event in Houston.
There are six do-not-miss spaces I recommend. No. 1 is ArtCrawl headquarters, of course, Mother Dog Studios, the oldest surviving warehouse in Houston, where ArtCrawl was founded in 1992. My nonagenarian friend and artist, Carolyn Bertrand Hodges, has a painting here, too. 720 Walnut St.
Two, Canal Street Studios, 5210 Canal St. The 1940s warehouse in the East End is only open to the public for open studios during ArtCrawl. It has 10 artist studios and is definitely the real deal. Visit with painter P.A. Mueller in her studio while you’re there and Claire Drennan’s too. Claire knits her contemporary art for both wearables and display.
Three is Hardy & Nance Street Studios, 902 Hardy St. Open Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the studio artists, H&N has teamed up with Artists for Artists, a nonprofit organization that provides Emergency Recovery Grants designed to assist eligible artists experiencing career-threatening emergencies. Artists for Artists will showcase a group of Houston’s top artists’ work in the H&N Gallery. A portion of their sales will help other artists in need. https://artists4artists.org/
From H&N walk over to Last Concert Cafe, 1403 Nance St., for great Tex-Mex, live music with Jimmy Deen & Wendy Elizabeth Jones, David ODea, and the Tom Turner Band in the backyard. A new brunch menu will be introduced Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m. each day.
Elder Street Artist Lofts, 1101 Elder St., 77007, tour the open studios in this historic building. This is the former Jefferson Davis Hospital, reportedly the most haunted building in Houston, until the artists scared off the ghosts! Ask them, the full listing of artists is at elderstreetartists.com.
Then there’s CustomSpace, JoMar Visions, 5301 Polk St. Bldg 14. Many artists present here but I want you to find Nathan Parmer, who will be presenting his latest watercolor and paper cut art. The things this man creates with paper is phenomenal.
The one-day event is Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Get a map of all participants and more at ArtCrawlHouston.com.
Finally, there is Via Colori Festival Saturday and Sunday, on the streets of downtown. Every time I attend this festival I am blown away by the size, talent and organization. This ticketed event is kid friendly and their tagline says it all for this street painting fest, “Massive Outdoor Art Gallery. Family Festival. Music Concert.” Details at ViaColoriHouston.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com