Art Museum of Southeast Texas
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) has a long history of serving the people of the region.
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas, formerly The Beaumont Art Museum, was incorporated in the State of Texas on September 14, 1950. It opened to the public on the lower floor of an old, two-story rented house on the edge of the downtown business district. The Art Museum was charged with the responsibility of contributing significantly to the education, cultural enrichment and aesthetic enjoyment of the area. In September of 1956, funds were provided by the S. Ferry Brown family for the construction of a 2,000 square foot museum building on the Southeast Texas State Fairgrounds which included an office, storage and exhibition space and one large classroom. The building is now occupied by the Beaumont Art League, which is active in promoting and exhibiting the work of local artists.
In 1969, the J. Crooke Wilson family donated their estate, located on five acres of landscaped property in the Old Town district of Beaumont, to the City of Beaumont with the stipulation that an art museum, with professional direction and a serious education program be developed. This 7,000 square foot building, after renovation of the first floor galleries, opened to the public in 1970.
On September 10, 1987, after completing a comprehensive capital drive which brought in $4.2 million, the Beaumont Art Museum was re-born as the Art Museum of Southeast Texas and found its current home at 500 Main Street in Beaumont. This facility triples past space, and includes three galleries, a lecture hall that seats 135, three sculpture courtyards, a library, Tea Room Restaurant and Museum Shop. In the forty years since the organization of the Art Museum, the museum has hosted over 350 exhibitions and over two million visitors have participated in museum programs and activities.
As of 2007, AMSET hosts 8-10 exhibitions each year, some of which are organized in-house and travel on to other venues. Exhibits of note include Oil Patch Dreams, an exhibit designated to be the statewide kickoff event for the governor-appointed "Spindletop 2001" celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Spindletop oil boom. Natural Histories: A Survey of Photographs by Keith Carter showcased the career of internationally renowned Beaumont photographer Keith Carter. Small Deaths: Photographs by Kate Breakey featured hand-colored black and white photographs on loan from the Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern & Mexican Photography at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos. In 2004, AMSET presented Twang: Contemporary Texas Sculpture, curated by C. Sean Horton. In 2006, AMSET presented Paul Manes: The Big Big Picture Show, an exhibit of works by a former Beaumont resident who has gone on to great acclaim in the art world.
The Art Museum's permanent collection consists of 19th and 20th century American paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, American decorative arts; porcelain, glass and silver.
The Art Museum is centrally located in the cultural district in downtown Beaumont at 500 Main Street, adjacent to the Texas Energy Museum and Tyrrell Historical Library. The Art Museum is within walking distance of the Texas State Fire Museum, Edison Plaza Museum, River-Front Park, the Civic Center, and other cultural amenities.
For hours and fees please see the museum's website.
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