When I first moved to Austin years ago and heard that it had a big gallery scene, I wasn’t interested. To me, art galleries seemed like snooty and inaccessible. Much to my surprise, the Austin art gallery scene is fun, eccentric, and quirky – with something for everyone.
Fun Prints and Cool Toys at Guzu Gallery
5000 N Lamar Blvd
Open daily, hours vary. (Check website)
Park in the private lot or take the 1 bus
Guzu Gallery, located in a quickly changing area of north central Lamar, has very unique, pop culture inspired prints. Almost all of the art is locally sourced, and it has a weird / sci-fi / comic bend to it. This is the perfect place to find a print for the geek in your life, even if that geek happens to be you.
Guzu also features a good collection of art books, something the city has been missing ever since Domy books closed. If you decide you’re not in an art mood, Guzu is also known for its unusual and eclectic toy collection. And while this area of town is still getting cool stuff in, you can head next door to Austin Books & Comics for more fun browsing.
Amazing Original Prints at Flatbed Press
2830 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Open Tuesday – Friday, 10-5. Open Saturday 10-3.
Park in the private lot or take the 18 bus
Looking for some art that no one else will have? Then you have to check out Flatbed Press, a printmaking studio in East Austin. Their exhibits are among the most amazing I’ve seen in any city, and Flatbed Press is a great place to support very talented local artists. And if you are inspired to make your own art, Flatbed Press has plenty of high quality classes as well.
Flatbed Press is located in a part of East Austin that has a lot of cool things going on. Check out the nearby farmers market on Tuesday afternoons, or stop into the very Austin, family owned Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata.
Dynamic Graffiti at Hope Outdoor Gallery
1008 Baylor St.
Park on the street or take the 338 bus
Of all the zany art galleries in Austin, Hope Outdoor Gallery does the best job keeping Austin weird. This spot has had many names over the years, but it has always showcased a dynamic collection of graffiti on its outdoor walls. It’s different every day, and I like that I can come back here constantly for a new look at the same gallery.
One downside of Hope Outdoor Gallery is that it doesn’t have art for sale, unless you count the occasional vendor selling photographs of the wall. The upside is that you’ll never feel pressure to buy art, and you may be inspired to take some photos of your own. Hope Outdoor Gallery is best visited during the day, and it can be mildly hazardous to walk around, so look where you’re going. Where good shoes, and leave the kids at home. Hope Outdoor Gallery is adjacent to the west part of downtown, and it’s the perfect stop if you’re headed down Lamar to the huge flagship Whole Foods.
Cool Folk Art at Yard Dog Gallery
1510 S Congress Ave
Open Monday – Friday, 11-5. Open Saturday, 11-6. Open Sunday, 12-5.
Park on the street or take the 1 bus
Yard Dog Gallery is a well curated folk art gallery, with an emphasis on folk, pop, and outsider art from the American south. Locals may already be familiar with Yard Dog as a SXSW venue, but it’s worth a visit during the other eleven months of the year. The art featured at Yard Dog Gallery is original, compelling, and true to Austin’s roots. I think a lot of the pieces are quite reasonable, and they do offer a layaway plan.
Yard Dog Gallery is smack in the middle of the bustling south Congress district. Check out all the quirky stores nearby, and head up to Home Slice Pizza for one of Austin’s most delicious slices. There’s always a ton to discover and observe in the SoCo area, so plan on staying for a while.