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El Paso's 10 Contemporary Art Galleries and Museums to Visit

El Paso’s 10 Contemporary Art Galleries and Museums to Visit

Agave Rosa Studio & Gallery
Photo by Agave Rosa Studio & Gallery
Agave Rosa Studio & Gallery
905 Noble
915-533-8011 

In 2011, artist Martha Arzabala founded Agave Rosa with the mission of providing a dedicated space for Hispanic artists to showcase their work in El Paso. And, in line with this initial goal, the gallery now displays works by both emerging and more established artists from the cities of El Paso, Las Cruces (NM) and Ciudad Juarez, on the other side of the national border. Visitors will find works spanning a wide range of different media, from ceramics to paintings, to sculpture, photography and jewellery. Among other works on display at Agave Rosa, the paintings of Hector Bernal offer an original perspective on the great European masterpieces from which they take inspiration.

El Paso Museum of Art
Photo by El Paso Museum of Art
El Paso Museum of Art
1 Arts Festival Plaza
915-212-0300 

The El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) houses a permanent collection of over 7,000 works of art with strengths in American and Mexican art and European art, including a collection of 13th - 18th century paintings and sculptures donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In addition, the Museum offers a divers schedule of temporary exhibitions and engaging programs. The EPMA School offers classes, workshops, and camps for adults and children.

Encaustic International Art Studio & Gallery
Photo by Encaustic International Art Studio & Gallery
Encaustic International Art Studio & Gallery
7100 Westwind, Suite 120
915-478-5534 

Founded by German-born artist Brigitte von Ahn, Encaustic is located in Northwest El Paso, just a couple of miles west of Franklin Mountain State Park. The gallery specialises in the encaustic technique, a painting method involving heated beeswax mixed with added coloured pigments. Alongside the main collection, the gallery hosts a selection of sculptures and works by early El Paso artist Eugene Thurston. Other works include the colourful abstract creations of Ju-Yi Fu or the dreamlike landscapes of Lori Wertz.

Galleries at the Memorial
Photo by Chamizal National Memorial
Galleries at the Memorial
800 South San Marcial Street
915-532-7273 

Commemorating the peaceful setting of the Chamizal border dispute between the US and Mexico, the Chamizal National Memorial is committed to celebrating the history and culture of the borderline region where it is located. Three galleries showcasing the work of local painters and sculptors make up the complex: the Los Paisanos, the Abrazos, and the Borderland gallery. By hosting exhibitions such as River People, featuring local artists like Nestor Valencia and Julio Sanchez de Alba, the gallery͛s aim is to shed light on the rich and diverse heritage that characterises this frontier area. Also on display in the bookshop is a collection of colourful alebrijes, curious animal-like creatures dreamed up by Mexican artist Pedro Linares which later became popular folk art objects in the Oaxaca region.

Hal Marcus Gallery
Photo by Hal Marcus Studio & Gallery
Hal Marcus Gallery
1308 N. Oregon
915-533-9090 

In an airy exhibition space perfect for a large number of paintings and artworks, Hal Marcus Gallery hosts one of the preeminent exhibitions spots in El Paso. The gallery has a strong focus on local artistry and in addition to displaying a large, distinctively bright and hued collection of paintings by Hal Marcus himself, it also brings together some of the finest contemporary works produced by artists in the area. In the gallery, Botero-esque portraits by Mauricio Mora share the space with the sharp tones of Mark Paulda͛s photographs, and with the surreal phantasmagoria of Evelyn Ainsa͛s oils.

International Museum of Art
Photo by International Museum of Art
International Museum of Art
1211 Montana Avenue
915-543-6747 

Together with the African and Western galleries, the Kolliker and the Mexican Revolution galleries, the Red Room Gallery makes up the permanent collection at the International Museum of Art of El Paso. The Red Room is devoted to contemporary local art and presents a selection of paintings and drawings by top artists from El Paso and the Southwest. Occupying the lower floor of the museum with a showcase of diverse artistic media and themes, the gallery is a great place to start your exploration of local art. Among the artists to see here are muralist Ernesto Martinez and beloved local mixed media artist Lawrence Benjamin Porter.

Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
Photo by Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
500 W. University Ave.
915-747-6151 

Housed by the University of Texas at El Paso since its opening in 2004, the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts is committed to bringing the most innovative trends in artistic practice to the region. Serving as a creative laboratory for art students and local emerging artists, the Rubin aims at creating a space where internationally recognised, cutting-edge art meets the inventiveness of home practitioners. Among the ongoing series of regular exhibitions, workshops, site-specific installations, and Biennial Faculty Exhibitions, a highlight is the current retrospective on jeweller and metal artist Rachelle Thiewes, Rachelle Thiewes: Something Gleams. Thiewes, in addition to being a professor at the university, is also an acclaimed sculptor with works displayed in Washington D.C., Scotland, New York and Chicago, among others.

San Elizario Pena Gallery
1456 Main St.
915-851-8400 
 

Included in El Paso metropolitan area, San Elizario is known for its Historic Art District and Mission Trail, which are surely worth the drive. Among the cluster of art galleries dotted around the village, the Amado Peña Gallery stands out for its commitment to fostering local and Native American art. Housed in a renovated historic building, the gallery showcases works by some renowned artists from the region, such as Helen Hall and Manuel Franco, as well as some of Amado Peña͛s very own paintings, whose strength shines through their strong dedication to Native American art.

Purple Pop-Up Gallery
210 E. Mills Ave
 
 

From shops to restaurants, the ͚pop-up͛ concept is a wide-spreading trend that has so far left very few spheres untouched. The idea reached El Paso and its arts scene in the form Purple Pop-Up. Its actual form might be temporary, but the experience is bound to remain in El Paso͛s cultural memory for a long time. The project was devised by photographer Peter Svarzbein, who, riding the wave of the hugely successful Chalk the Block events in 2013, aimed to establish a new urban spot to house rotating showcases of cutting-edge art in the El Paso and Juarez areas. Debuting in 2014 with three to four exhibitions per year, the gallery will show the works of over a dozen artists, including Svarzbein͛s own El Paso Transnational Trolley Project, which involves a border-crossing trolley and thousands of tiny pictures of local residents on both sides of the frontier.

The Glass Gallery
500 W. University Ave.
915-747-6151 
 

Also lodged at the University of Texas at El Paso, this time at the Fox Fine Arts Center, the Glass Gallery focuses exclusively on the artworks of the up-and-coming talents from the UTEP Department of Art. Run under the supervision of the Rubin Center͛s staff, this student-led gallery has been showcasing artistic research on a range of different media for over 20 years. With an ambitious programme of around 15 exhibitions every year, both solo and collective, the gallery displays the newest explorations and reflections driving artistic practice in the area͛s arts hub.


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