Street Address
120 Fine Arts Building, entrance #16 off Cullen Blvd.
Houston, TX 77004
Mailing Address
120 Fine Arts Building, University of Houston
Houston, TX 77004
phone: 713-743-9525
fax: 713-743-9530
e-mail: kzicterman@uh.edu
web: www.blaffergallery.org
Admissions
Free
Museum Type(s)
Art
Staff
Ms. Claudia Schmuckli, Director and Chief Curator
phone: 713-743-9522
Jeffrey Bowen, Assistant Director of External Affairs
phone: 713-743-9528
Youngmin Chung, Registrar
phone: 713-743-9562
Susan Conaway, Director of External Affairs
phone: 713-743-9537
Rachel Hooper, Associate Curator
phone: 713-743-2043
Ms. Karen Zicterman, Museum Administrator

Description

Through exhibitions, programs, and publications, Blaffer Gallery presents art that is intellectually stimulating and relevant to the University and the community. The current exhibition policy focuses upon art of the past 100 years and its artistic, cultural, and intellectual antecedents. Following a facility expansion in 1999, the museum now presents and/or originates between six to ten exhibitions annually. The schedule may include major traveling exhibitions that have a particular relevance to Houston audiences; mid-sized retrospectives of national and international artists; exhibitions of regional artists; thematic surveys which place artists’ work into new contexts; and special projects by local artists.

Blaffer Gallery serves as a resource for the study of art, art history, and other related disciplines, and extends the educational and scholarly programs of the University to the community. Related events are scheduled in conjunction with each exhibition, including guided tours, lectures, and symposia that are free and open to the public. Classes are welcome and tours may be arranged by appointment.

History

The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery was founded in 1973, named in honor of the late Sarah Campbell Blaffer, who during her lifetime made available to the University a collection of major artworks dating from the fifteenth century to modern day. This collection was purchased in 1979 by the Blaffer Foundation, which is unrelated to the Gallery and the University. The income from the investment of the sale proceeds provides a portion of the Gallery’s program budget.

Over its 28-year history, Blaffer Gallery has presented 250 exhibitions. The current exhibition policy, adopted by the Advisory Board and University Regents in 1986, focuses upon art of the past 100 years and its artistic, cultural and intellectual antecedents. Following a facility expansion in 1999, the museum now presents and/or originates between six to ten exhibitions annually. The annual schedule may include major traveling exhibitions that have a particular relevance to Houston audiences; mid-sized retrospectives of national and international artists; exhibitions of regional artists; thematic surveys which place artists’ work into new contexts; and special projects by local artists. Blaffer Gallery is dedicated to conducting original scholarship and research in contemporary art history. The museum frequently forges collaborative partner-ships from among Houston’s wealth of cultural organizations and educational institutions. Exhibition-related public programs and activities complement and elucidate each exhibition, from casual Brown Bag lunch tours to lively audience interaction during our "Contemporary Salons."

Exhibitions organized by Blaffer Gallery include the "Houston Area Exhibition," held every four years and open to artists residing within 100 miles of downtown Houston; jurors for the 2000 exhibition honed 1,600 entries down to a dazzling presentation of emerging and established local talent. The 1997 "Michael Ray Charles: An American Artist’s Work" drew more than 10,000 visitors and traveled to the Austin Museum of Art and the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; our stunning two-volume catalogue won the First Prize for Publications from the American Association of Museums. Traveling exhibitions, selected for specific regional interests, have also proven to be blockbusters: the fascinating paintings, works on paper and assemblages of "Spirited Journeys: Self Taught Texas Artists" (1998); "Luis Jimenez: Working Class Heroes" (1999), monumental, colorful figurative sculpture; the playable installations in "Putt Modernism: An 18-Hole Miniature Golf Course and Exhibition (1998); and the deeply moving "Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry" (1999). Blaffer Gallery’s stimulating programming attracts 30,000+ visitors annually.

Artifacts Collections

Blaffer Gallery is a non-collecting institution

Research Collections

Exhibition archives from 1973 to present

Educational Programs

: In 1988, Blaffer Gallery began a unique educational program for school children, UHReach. This program is now recognized nationally as an exemplary, multi-faceted outreach initiative. Blaffer has built intensive relationships with 18 elementary, middle and high schools in the neighborhoods surrounding the museum and UHReach serves schools from 24 area districts. A diverse corps of students form UH and Texas Southern University are extensively trained and employed as docents for UHReach. They lead dialogue-based tours of the exhibitions and also visit school classrooms to conduct pre- and post-tour activities. In addition to exhibition tours, Blaffer Gallery offers "Young Artist Apprenticeship Programs," 6-week after-school workshops for special needs teens, conducted 3 times per year. An artist-mentor leads teens in an in-depth exploration of an artistic medium, such as printmaking or videography, culminating in a gallery exhibition of the teens’ work. In 2000, Blaffer’s Education Department launched the Mobile Art Quest ("MAQ"), our 45-foot children’s museum on wheels that brings an interactive and creative experience to children regardless of how far from a museum they may reside. Within the three chambers of MAQ, children learn art concepts such as color and composition; try their hand at creating a giant three-dimensional painting; and discuss their artistic choices with MAQ’s highly trained artist-docents. Blaffer Gallery provides MAQ at no charge to schools, community centers and libraries, encouraging family and community participation in the arts wherever it travels. Availability and fees by request.

    Publications

    Blaffer Gallery publishes a newsletter, "Newsline" 2 to 3 times per year. Exhibition catalogues are published by the museum in conjunction with exhibitions organized by Blaffer.