Megan Jaster's enthusiasm for the visual arts reached a fever pitch while she studied painting and philosophy at Texas State University, where world-renowned artists and mentors helped her realize the infinite ways with which to color a canvas. At ATX Art Classes, Jaster coaxes her students' inner impressionists to the surface by teaching them various painting techniques, composition, and tips for overcoming mental obstacles. Her classes accommodate the needs of both novice and experienced artists, and take cues from history's most celebrated painters, including Van Gogh, Degas, and Kahlo. The studio's painting workshops allow participants to freely lob brushstrokes at canvasses to create their own masterpieces depicting ballerinas, lost lovers, or jilted ears.
Pinot's Palette is less an art studio than it is a way for people to enjoy a libation-filled night out with friends, one that happens to include a painting project. The painting sessions evoke adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging conversation and good cheer while painting and sipping. Some locations feature a BYOB policy while others serve beer and wine from the bar. Each session features a predetermined painting—from flowers and animals to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night—which each participant tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Everyone has a different vision of how their living space should look, which is why ART on 5th fills its three-level, 6,000-square-foot gallery with art to suit all tastes. Works by notable names such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Theodor Seuss Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—rub shoulders with rotating collections from some 60 lesser-known artists.
In addition to displaying fine paintings, ART on 5th offers custom-framing services, and backs each of its frames with a lifetime guarantee. The store’s artisans meticulously choose a flattering frame for each piece from more than 3,000 styles—helping artwork mesh stylistically with its destination, be it a living-room wall or an endless hall of mirrors. They eschew colored, paper mats in favor of neutral-toned, hand-wrapped linen mats, leaving some wiggle room between art and frame and imbuing each piece with richness and depth. Each frame is hung with kevlar, a bulletproof material that prevents damage caused by rusted hanging wires and showboating ’80s action-movie stars.
The tale of the Austin Children's Museum begins in 1983, when a band of parents and teachers started setting up educational exhibits and children's activities throughout the city. This “museum without walls” stretched into schools, parks, and malls, delighting children and families with a sense of whimsy and a place where play was rewarded. In the years that followed, the museum shed its nomadic beginnings and found a permanent home inside the pleasant green walls of the Dell Discovery Center. Firmly rooted, its exhibits have entertained and enlightened more than 800,000 youngsters and their parents while earning praise from the writers of Little Austinite.
Today, the sprawling 12,500-square-foot facility is a kaleidoscope of color and lights, where whippersnappers play with giant building blocks, cobble recycled materials into crafts, and marvel at golf balls as they soar through loops and shoots. Others explore the miniature Global City, where they take on roles such as veterinarians in the pet clinic, cooks in the diner, or stray raccoons hiding in the grocery store.
Throughout the week, a team of educators leads Discovery Time, guiding lads and lasses through kid-friendly science experiments that launch paper helicopters and make slime. The museum also hosts Storytime, where grownups read playful stories aloud to encourage creativity and instill a love of literature in young readers.
Every year, more than 75,000 visitors?from schoolchildren to serious art collectors?visit the Mexic-Arte Museum in downtown Austin. They come to see the innovative exhibitions, explore the collections, and soak up the resources that have made the museum a go-to source for educational and cultural programming. Designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican-American Fine Art Museum of Texas, Mexic-Arte was founded by a group of artists in 1984; it's one of the few museums in the United States dedicated to Mexican art. Mexic-Arte showcases the works of both established and emerging artists from Mexico, the United States, and Latin America, allowing them to reach a large audience without having to create extra-large pieces to unravel from the tops of nearby skyscrapers.
To avoid last year's embarrassment of inventing modern art 90 years after the fact, it might do you good to visit an art museum and see what art movements already exist. Marvel and muse among the aesthetically astute with today's Groupon: for $30, you'll get a yearlong household membership to both locations of the Austin Museum of Art. Benefits include: