Visual Art

A New MFAH Gallery Has ‘Popped Up’ In The Heights

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has just launched an off-site gallery in the historic neighborhood, northwest of downtown, to bring more of its permanent collection to the community, and offer a more casual way to engage with art

When the gallery opened last weekend, MFAH publicist Sarah Hobson tweeted that the space was becoming quite "pup-ular."

That's because "at one point, we had I think somewhere between 8 and 12 four-legged friends – dogs – that that were all in the gallery space with their owners," said Steve Radom of Radom Capital.

Radom and his brother-in-law, Evan Katz, are the developers of Heights Mercantile, a new retail area and community destination. Both have an affinity for the arts and have donated the gallery space, allowing the Museum to expand beyond its main campus.

The space offers the MFAH a chance to display, and rotate, artworks from its large permanent collection that might otherwise go unseen.

"We feel that having a museum component to [Heights Mercantile] will just differentiate it. It'll bring more people out. It'll make it more endearing to the community. And we think that, in the long-term, there are a lot of net-positives that arise from it."

Although not technically a "pop-up gallery," because it is a permanent space, its "pop-up"-like quality amidst restaurants and shops lends a relaxed, inviting, and interactive atmosphere.

At the opening, dog owners, parents with strollers, and people coming off the nearby bike path dropped in to see City Glow, a colorful video installation by Chiho Aoshima spread across five monitors, with anime-style cartoon images and themes of modern city life.

"There is a stroll-by experience. You can look through the windows and see the videos, if you don't have time to step in. And what I hope it does is it to pique people's curiosities," said Alison de Lima Greene, the MFAH's Isabel Brown Wilson Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

She believes that, with arts education in public schools diminishing, bringing art into the community is more important than ever. "Not only does it create a wonderful destination for adults, but we think it helps fire the imagination of young people as well, and helps make them become better citizens."

The MFA Contemporary @ Heights Mercantile gallery is free and open daily at 714 Yale Street. Starting in December, it will offer art-making activities to the public on the last Saturday of each month.

Listen to the complete interview with Alison de Lima Greene, below:

Listen to the complete interview with Steve Radom, below:


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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