The Galveston Arts Center, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, was incorporated in 1986 as the primary center of contemporary art serving a culturally diverse, eight county area between Houston, Corpus Christi and Beaumont. Housed in the historic First National Bank building (1878) at the corner of 22nd and Strand, the GAC was first founded as the Centre on the Strand in 1968. At that time, the Junior League of Galveston County donated the building for use as an art education center.
From 1971 to 1986 the Galveston Arts Center, under the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council, Inc., grew to offer quality programs in the form of exhibitions, art education and public festivals for all the Galveston County area. In 1986, The Galveston Arts Center became a separate non-profit organization.
Due to damage incurred by Hurricane Ike in 2008, GAC was forced to move temporarily to a nearby location on the corner 25th and Market Streets in Galveston. For the initial renovation of the building on the Strand, and in support of continued programming, the Moody Foundation committed funds along with other organizations including the Harris and Eliza Kempner Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., the Brown Foundation and individual donors. Through this support and the dedication of our board members, staff, and independent artists and teachers, GAC was able to continue nearly all of the pre-Ike programming and events from the temporary location while simultaneously running a years-long capital campaign to restore the damaged historic building. Restoration was completed in 2015, and today GAC is back and the building is more beautiful than ever.
For 34 years, Galveston Arts Center has organized ArtWalk every 6-8 weeks. Presented in partnership with downtown galleries, artist studios, nonprofit arts spaces, and other local businesses, this popular event is a major economic driver for the cultural and tourism sectors of Galveston’s economy.
We take pride in this tradition and remain committed to promoting the business of artists and galleries through good times and challenging ones. It is in this spirit of solidarity that GAC presents, in lieu of ArtWalk, this new Galveston Gallery Guide to help art lovers connect with galleries, find virtual shopping options, and support working artists any day of the year.