If you live in Fort Worth, it might be easy to forget how prominent our art scene is. The Cultural District alone is home to five world-renowned museums all within walking distance of each other. Here are half a dozen art accolades the city boasts!
1. Home to the Only Michelangelo in the Americas
The Kimbell Art Museum acquired Michelangelo’s painting of The Torment of Saint Anthony in 2009. Executed in oil and tempera on a wooden panel, this work is the first painting by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) to enter an American collection, and one of only four known easel paintings believed to come from the artist. (The others hang in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and London’s National Gallery).
Michelangelo, The Torment of Saint Anthony, c. 1487–88.
Egg tempera and oil on panel, 18 1/2 x 13 1/4 in.
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
Those who’ve seen Michaelangelo’s frescoes in Rome’s Sistine Chapel or the sculpture of David in Florence will want to take a peek.
2. The Largest Four-Day Event in the Southwest
During Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival, thousands of people converge on nine blocks on Main Street from the courthouse to the convention center to interact with the arts “al fresco.” For three decades, the free arts festival has promoted the diversity, vibrancy and life of Downtown Fort Worth and promotes our downtown area to regional and national audience.
Main Street has been awarded a Top Ten Arts Festival ranking by USA Today. The initial Main Street was a three-day affair with 140 artists and 60 performers, drawing a crowd of 80,000. This year, 213 artists and hundreds of performers entertained an estimated 400,000 festival-goers.
3. An Arc of Work by the “Mother of American Modernism”
Artist Georgia O’Keeffe is arguably the most iconic painter of the American Southwest. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art holds one of the great institutional collections of O’Keeffe’s works. The artist spent a significant amount of time working in Amarillo and Canyon, and the Carter demonstrates the full arc of her artistic legacy, from an early charcoal drawing and a series of watercolors depicting the Texas landscape that helped establish her trajectory, to her iconic paintings of flowers and innovative depictions of the Southwest.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)
Red Cannas, 1927, Oil on canvas
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1986.11
4. The Only Museum in the World Honoring the Women of the American West
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring women and their role in the American West. The museum includes interactive exhibit galleries featuring artifacts of the permanent collection, a traveling exhibit gallery, two theaters and a research library and archives.
PC: Craig Kuhner
Currently, the museum’s archives house more than 4,000 artifacts and information about more than 750 remarkable women. The museum began in the basement of the Deaf Smith County Library in Hereford, Texas, and moved to Fort Worth in 1994.
PC: National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame Collection / Sheila West
The 228 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honorees include pioneers, artists, writers, entertainers, humanitarians, business women, educators, ranchers and rodeo cowgirls including: Sacagawea, principal guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition; painter Georgia O’Keeffe; potter Maria Martinez; writer Laura Ingalls Wilder; sharpshooter Annie Oakley; Enid Justin, who created the multi-million dollar Nocona Boot Company; Hollywood icon Dale Evans and U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
5. The Largest Collection of Works by a Significant American Modern Artist
One of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s most interesting collections is the set of 50 paintings, collages, sketches and prints by American artist Robert Motherwell. Acknowledged as one of the most significant figures in Abstract Expressionism, Motherwell’s contemporaries included Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko – and the Modern has works by both Rothko and Pollock in addition to the Motherwell collection.
PC: Robert Motherwell, Stephen's Iron Crown, 1981
Image copyright: © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
6. The Largest Outdoor Art Gallery in Texas
Inspiration Alley, The Foundry District’s outdoor art gallery, features 11 (and counting) murals by some of North Texas’ most highly-acclaimed artists on over 4,600 square feet of wall space. Part gallery, part community art space, the murals both liven up the walls in the industrial-looking area and create a destination for Instagrammers.
PC: Inspiration Alley, Alex Lepe
The Foundry District notes that there’s a graffiti park in Austin that also claims the title, but the art at Inspiration Alley is commissioner with intent, while the art in Austin is a little more free-form.