The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Tiny Art Galleries

The Matchbox Art Gallery at Rice University
The Matchbox Art Gallery at Rice University
Courtesy of The Matchbox Art Gallery

Everything's actually not bigger in Texas, at least not when it comes to art galleries. Houston's the fourth largest city in the country (you know we have to say that every chance we get), and home to some of America's most acclaimed museum galleries (yes, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, we're talking about you). But small also has a home in the visual arts community. Did we say small? Sorry, we meant tiny. As in super minuscule. Here's our list of our top ten favorite tiny art galleries.

10. The Central Gallery, The Holocaust Museum Houston Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. 713-942-8000,

Every square inch of the Holocaust Museum Houston is used to get the anti-hate, "never forget" message out. Exhibits, archives, books, photos, art and more relevant to the Holocaust and its legacy fill the building. Even a slender hallway that's been dubbed The Central Gallery has been transformed into exhibition space. We had the pleasure of seeing "Displaced Persons: Photographs by Clemens Kalischer" there in 2011. The exhibit was made up of photographs of displaced persons and refugees fleeing the Nazis in Europe in the late 1940s. It documented the immigrants' first few moments in America, capturing their excitement, weariness, hope and exhaustion.

Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Tiny Art Galleries
Photo by Troy Schulze

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9. The Joanna 1401 Branard 713-825-1803

The epitome of a DIY gallery, The Joanna played a small but important role in the local art scene for six years hosting as many as 11 shows a year. Housed in a lived-in bungalow, the gallery was really just the home's living room cleared of furniture and transformed into a pop-up gallery (and sometime dancehall). Despite its limited runs, The Joanna drew large and enthusiastic crowds of art lovers who, like the gallery organizers, wanted to put a little fun in art. Co-founder Cody Ledvina announced the space's last show in March. Ledvina is moving on to the former Domy store space, next to Cafe Brasil and The Joanna "will undergo a gender transition into The Brandon." Programming for the new gallery will begin in September, when a large group show is planned. (The story is the Joanna of the gallery's name is an imaginary, chain-smoking 13-year-old girl who lives in a trailer park. No telling who Brandon is, but we're sure he's just as exuberant and wild.)

8. Bill'sJunk 1125 E 11th St. 713 863-7112,

Bill Davenport, owner of Bill's Junk, says the gallery is "an artist-curated exhibition space merging high art, low craft, nature and salvage."

One recent show was "Shane Tolbert: Talk of Montauk,: a collection of nine bright and colorful paintings completed while the artist was in residency at the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk, Long Island.

Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment.

7. Lobby Gallery, Museum of Printing History 1324 W. Clay St. 713-522-4652,

About the size of two offices, the Museum of Printing History's Lobby Gallery packs a lot of punch into a few square feet and has been host to several exciting shows. One of our favorites was "Texas Zydeco," a photography exhibit by James Fraher from his book of the same name. (Roger Wood was co-author for the release). Some 40 photos filled the gallery, bringing the sights, if not the sounds, of Zydeco to the Montrose area museum.

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