Looking for a place to appreciate high-quality art and mingle with like-minded art lovers? Then look no further than Lubbock. Home to Texas Tech, a university that takes pride in its museums and art collections, the city receives thousands of visitors attending art-related exhibits and events annually. From one of the top 10 public art collections in the nation, to First Friday Art Trails, to admiring ancient dinosaur bones, here are the top free things to do in Lubbock, if you love the arts.
Texas Tech Public Art Collection
Widely noted for its gorgeous architecture and idyllic walkways, Texas Tech University is known for its blend of Spanish Renaissance architecture on its 1,840-acre wide campus. In fact, Plexuss listed the university among the top most beautiful college campuses in the country. But you’re not just coming here to look at the buildings. The university is also known for its state-of-the-art public art collections, and visitors can admire more than 80 sculptures throughout the campus. Take a brief stroll in any direction and you’ll come across a handful of installations. These public art displays include a variety of subjects: here are a few of our favorites. Luckily, Lubbock receives 263 days of sunshine on average per year, so chances are, you’ll be enjoying warm weather on your walk through campus.
Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts
The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) in downtown Lubbock, works hard to bring modern art to the public. The 5,000-square-foot gallery has four separate studios, catering to both children and adults. The exhibits rotate frequently, allowing repeat guests to experience fresh, new art on every visit. Mediums of art found throughout the gallery range from sculptures, to paintings, to photography, with a majority of them available for purchase. For additional fun (and for a fee), learn the art of pottery-making, open to both kids and adults. Come visit in October when the studio comes alive with the annual Flatland Film Festival where art lovers flock to see experimental art videos.
Lubbock is home to a string of small art studios, found throughout the city. The studios are situated among stores in popular shopping districts, and display art pieces available for purchase. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or a gorgeous centerpiece to go in your living room, hitting the local independent studios will help you meet your goals. The Charles Adams Gallery displays paintings from talented artists throughout Texas, while Sandstorm Glassworks offers handmade jewelry made from glass.
First Friday Art Trail
When it comes to planning a trip to Lubbock, schedule your vacation around a First Friday Art Trail, held every first Friday evening of the month. During this popular monthly event, the downtown area welcomes thousands of attendees who are free to browse through various buildings, located throughout the Lubbock Cultural District, to enjoy arts and craft vendors, as well as permanent art displays. There are food trucks and live music, and you can hop on a complimentary trolley that takes you to different locations.
Multiple local businesses lend studio space for the event, like the Buddy Holly Center, LHUCA, Charles Adams Gallery and Museum of Texas Tech University. First-timers can grab a map, found at the front entrance of each building, to help you navigate your way through the art trail. But don’t fret if you don’t get a chance to catch all the entertainment and art; you can always come again next month.
Museum of Texas Tech University
Head back to Texas Tech to visit the campus museum. Unlike your average college museum, the Museum of Texas Tech University houses more than 5 million pieces reflecting the arts, humanities and sciences. Free to the public, guests can browse through exhibits of preserved paintings from greats like N.C. Wyeth (known for his illustrations on classic books like “Treasure Island”). While there, you can see thousands of ancient artworks and artifacts from Native Americans and Pre-Columbians. History lovers will want to visit the paleontology exhibit to see bones from pre-historic dinosaurs and the Ice Age.
Don’t leave Lubbock without learning a little about true Texas history. At the National Ranching Heritage Center, art and history lovers will get a chance to browse through 48 authentic ranching structures that date back to the 1700s. The museum’s purpose is to educate and give visitors a glimpse of what life looked like for early pioneers. The center is run by Texas Tech University.
For more ideas of ways to appreciate the arts in Lubbock, check out our website here.
By: Lindsey Hearn
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By: Lacie Freelen
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