Every month, downtown Abilene offers an ArtWalk to celebrate culture and the arts. It is an opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of Abilene and also to discover that our city has a surprisingly large art selection. There are several museums across town and numerous opportunities to get involved in through events and classes.
The Grace Museum is one of the most recognizable museums in Abilene because of the buildings’ lengthy history and dual purpose as an event center. What we now know as The Grace was converted from an abandoned hotel as part of a project to rejuvenate Abilene’s downtown in the 1980s. The museum is well respected in the art community and displays both classic and boundary-pushing art. The Grace is currently displaying two special collections “Black and White: Masters of the Darkroom” and “Drawn In/Drawn Out” until April 19.
A lesser known, but equally respectable museum is The Center for Contemporary Arts. They provide educational opportunities and are the corporation responsible for Abilene’s monthly ArtWalk. The Center for Contemporary Arts has five galleries that rotate frequently, one of which is an Emerging Artists gallery specifically designed to showcase the work of new artists. “The Face of India” is on display in the photo gallery through March 22 and the Creative Arts Club, a group of local artists, will display their work through April 26.
The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature is an interactive museum focused on children’s books. The museum is currently displaying an exhibit entitled “Allen Say: A Sense of Place,” which focuses on the drawings of popular artist Allen Say. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature puts on a variety of events for both children and adults including summer camps, opportunities to meet the artists and reading sessions. This unique experience is completely free, making it an even more appealing option.
The Clover Virginia Shore Gallery is run by ACU’s Department of Art and Design and features the exhibitions of ACU students and faculty. The gallery is on campus, making it a convenient stop for students. The student exhibits are especially creative, providing a lively, youthful vibe that enhances the gallery’s atmosphere.
Most of these museums are located in close proximity to each other in Abilene’s Historic Downtown. They offer high quality art that connects to Abilene locally and draws the community in through events and interactive exhibits. Together, they prove that art is alive and well in Abilene.