Skip to main content


Showing 10 of 30 Results


Lester Roy, Blindside, Chamillionaire, Archie Lee, Paul Wall, Michael "5000" Watts, Lil Ron, and Le Marcus. Image courtesy of Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. | Big Pokey, Paul Wall, and Big Hawk at the Sittin' Sideways video shoot. Image courtesy of Mike Frost.

June 1 - July 25, 2024

Once considered a fad by early detractors, hip hop honored its 50th anniversary on August 11, 2023. Promoters, historians, fans, libraries, and media outlets across the United States sponsored celebrations, events, and concerts to pay homage to the art form. However, the global impact of hip hop is undeniable and worthy of celebration beyond this milestone. 

Straight Flexin’, No Plexin’: A Hip Hop Exhibit, on view at Vinson Neighborhood Library, includes memorabilia, artwork, and photos of hip hop artists and creatives from Houston, Atlanta, New York, and California (Bay Area). The items on display are from the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) Hip Hop Archival Collection, housed at Rice University's Woodson Research Center at Fondren Library, and from private collectors. 

Although 2023 marked the 50th birthday of hip hop, the growing music genre is still young and has more milestones to reach. This exhibit serves as a reminder that as the culture continues to evolve and influence the world, it will be showcased and celebrated. Yes, yes y’all.



Faniel, Maco L., Hip-Hop in Houston: The Origin and the Legacy

Serrano, Shea, The Rap Year Book

Walker, Lance Scott, DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

Walker, Lance Scott, Houston Rap Tapes: An Oral History of Bayou City Hip-Hop

Westhoff, Ben, Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop

Wilkins, Langston Collin, Welcome 2 Houston: Hip Hop Heritage in Hustle Town


Don't forget that you can check out music!


CERCL Archival Collection, Hip Hop Archival Collection


Exhibit Director: Dr. Anthony Pinn 

Curators: Chinara Butler, Corey ‘Co’ Garrett, Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL), Woodson Research Center at Fondren Library 

Strategic Panel: Dr. Portia Hopkins, Maya Reine, Corey ‘Co’ Garrett 

Collaborating Organizations: CCM Foundation 

Special thanks to CERCL Hip Hop Archive members: HaviKoro Crew, Swishahouse, Pimp C, Mike Frost, K-Rino, Scotty ATL, Damon ‘Dame’ Dash, KRS-ONE

Luca Pozza, Production art for Laguna Hemingway pages 58 – 59, 2020; Felt tip pen, watercolor, and ecoline on patinated 350-grain ivory cardboard, 13 x 19 inches (image); Courtesy of Robert K. Elder.
June 17 - August 7, 2024

Ernest Hemingway casts a long shadow in literature, reaching beyond his status as a giant of twentieth-century fiction and a Nobel Prize winner—extending even into comic books. Appearing with various icons such as Superman, Mickey Mouse, and Wolverine, Hemingway transcends his reality as a novelist as his persona develops into a pop culture icon.

The exhibition Hemingway in Comics provides a unique and entertaining lens for considering one of America’s most influential authors through themes that explore his origin story as well as his legendary iconic personas, both fact and fiction. In several appearances across multiple languages, Hemingway is often portrayed as the hypermasculine legend: bearded, boozed up, and ready to throw a punch. But just as often, comic book writers see past the bravado to the person, grappling with his own demons. Hemingway’s role in these comics ranges from the divine to the ridiculous, as his image is recorded, distorted, lampooned, and whittled down to its core.

Exhibition curator Robert K. Elder notes that comic book creators and Hemingway share a natural kinship. The comic book page demands an economy of words, much like Hemingway’s less-is-more “iceberg theory,” only in graphic form. In addition, he turned out to be the perfect avatar for comic book artists wanting to tell history-rich stories, as he experienced beautiful places during the most chaotic times: Paris in the 1920s, Spain during the Spanish Civil War, Cuba on the brink of revolution, France during World War II just after liberation. Elder’s research into Hemingway’s comic presence demonstrates the truly international reach of Hemingway as a pop culture icon.

Hemingway in Comics presents a new, more complicated way to look at Hemingway: a man, an artist, and a character that has taken on a life of its own and allows visitors to consider why Hemingway’s image, in particular, is so enduring. However, this exhibition is not only for the dedicated Hemingway fan, it will appeal to all those with an appreciation for comics, pop culture, and the absurd.


CONTENT WARNING: Some of the labels and comics in this exhibition make references to suicide, sexual assault, and firearms.



Elder, Robert K., Hemingway in Comics


Burgess, Anthony, Ernest Hemingway

Gigliotti, Jim, Who Was Ernest Hemingway?

Reynolds, Nicholas E., Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961

Sandison, David, Ernest Hemingway: An Illustrated Biography


Hemingway, Ernest, The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway, Ernest, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest, The Hemingway Stories: As Featured in the Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

Hemingway, Ernest, A Moveable Feast

Hemingway, Ernest, The Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway, Ernest, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Other Stories

Hemingway, Ernest, The Sun Also Rises


Amara, Philip, So, You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?: The Ultimate Guide on How to Break Into Comics!

Crilley, Mark, The Comic Book Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Shows You How to Make Comics

Roshell, John, Lettering Comic Books with Illustrator (LinkedIn Learning)

Schmidt, Andy, The Insider's Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels


A Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

This exhibition is generously supported by City of Houston, Houston Public Library, and Houston Public LIbrary Foundation


Images courtesy of Houston Community College

June 15 - September 5, 2024 
Central Library | 1st Floor Gallery
Fashion Fusion VIII: Exquisite Elegance - Art of the Islamic Worlds features garments from Fashion Fusion, an annual competition presented by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the award-winning Fashion Design program at Houston Community College. 
This most recent competition required HCC students and alumni to design original outfits inspired by items and artworks in the Hossein Afshar Galleries for Art of the Islamic Worlds at the Museum. The students and alumni entered their designs into one of four representative categories: Motifs and Mosaics, Trinkets and Charms, Sky and Sand, and Metallics and Mirage. 



Gem Hale, The Protest Before the Protest, 2023, digital photograph. Gem Hale, Brick Maker, 2023, digital photograph artworks courtesy the artist. Photography by Sean Fleming, courtesy Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
June 8 - October 19, 2024

Located in Houston’s Fourth Ward, Freedmen’s Town is as deeply captivating as it is distinctly contested. The first settlement of freed Black people in the city, at one time the boundaries of Freedmen’s Town extended from the banks of Buffalo Bayou bordering downtown to present day Montrose.

This origin place once consisted of 500 historic structures within a vast swath of city streets. These structures were aggressively and systemically reduced, building by building, street by street, resulting in the much-diminished footprint of present-day Freedmen’s Town. When artists are concerned with place, reality finds poetic form, to uplift communities such as Freedmen’s Town/Fourth Ward.

Working against the ongoing erasure of Freedmen’s Town, the artists within this exhibition lend their vision to frame the memory of what was and stretch the boundary of what lies ahead. THIS WAY: A Houston Group Show articulates themes of time and memory that offer their own evocation as collaboration to stir thought, dialogue, and perception, initiating an environment for rebirth and restoration. The exhibition offers not only a connection to a place but also to the legacy of others connected to its origin: historically and at present, Freedmen’s Town.

In this moment in Houston’s history, 12 Black artists were invited to shape the unseen at a critical time in which Freedmen’s Town’s sacred archives and assets must be protected. These artists were invited to examine innovative ways to participate in the storytelling of Black legacy and heritage in Houston Freedmen’s Town. Navigating what Freedmen's Town might have become had systemic forces not smothered the community's abundance means that the artwork in this exhibition is part archival and part first responder. These artists resuscitate the pulse of memory to fortify the archives while decelerating the momentum of erasure in this place of Freedom.

THIS WAY: A Houston Group Show was developed throughout the planning and engagement process of Rebirth in Action and organized through a grant partnership with the Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, curated by Mich Stevenson, CAMHxHouston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy Project Manager with support from fifth-generation Freedmen’s Town resident Charonda Johnson, CAMHxHouston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy Engagement Manager.

THIS WAY: A Houston Group Show showcases new work from Berlin, Imhotep Blot by way of Amaechina Blot; Colby Deal, Nahtan (Nate Edwards), Dom Elam, Priscilla T. Graham, Gem Hale, Ann Johnson, Charonda Johnson, Jaylen Pigford, and Jason Woods (Flash Gordon Parks). They were invited to examine innovative ways to participate in the storytelling of Black legacy and heritage in Houston Freedmen’s Town.



Elbert Howze Collection (MSS 0171)

The Elbert Howze Collection contains newspaper articles, photographs, drawings, and his “Fourth Ward” photography book. The contents of the collection primarily focuses on structures, people, and life in Fourth Ward, Houston during the 1980s.

Freedmen's Town Association Collection (RG 0052)

The Freedmen's Town Association Collection contains documents and published materials pertaining to the efforts of the Freedmen's Town Association in preserving the Fourth Ward from 1983 to 1986.

General S. and Mary L. Johnson Collection (MSS 0129)

The General S. and Mary L. Johnson Collection is reflective of Mrs. Johnson's life and career, spanning mostly through the 1920s to the 1970s. The papers include original writings, correspondence, biographical material, and newspaper clippings. Significant portions of the collection represent her time as a teacher and educator, showcase her editorial writings, and signify the Johnson's involvement with the Antioch Baptist Church in Houston. Other items in the collection include photographs and objects, such as a paddle board from Phillis Wheatley High School, a swagger stick, and school ribbons from Mrs. Johnson's time as a student at the Houston Colored High School in 1917.

Ken Breisch Photographs (MSS 0187)

The Ken Breisch Collection consists of 60 35mm slides showing buildings and streets in Fourth Ward Houston, Texas between 1983 and 1999. The collection includes images of Ruthven, Mathews, Andrews, and Robin Streets.

Records of the Gregory School Project (RG 0008)

The Records of the Gregory School Project contains records, plans, meetings, reports, and correspondence that document the collaborative process of the City of Houston, the Mayor's Office, the Houston Public Library, architects, contractors, and the surrounding community in their efforts to completely restore the building into the African American Library at the Gregory School.

Reverend Jack Yates and Antioch Baptist Church Collection (MSS 0281)

This collection is an assortment of church and school ephemera such as programs, memorials, yearbooks, and directories; correspondence and documents; along with historically important photographs of Reverend Jack Yates and Fourth Ward scenes and people.



Graham, Priscilla T., 150 Years, Standing Strong

National Register of Historic Places, Freedmen's Town Historic District, Houston, Texas

The Red Book of Houston: A Compendium of Social, Professional, Religious, Educational and Industrial Interest of Houston's Colored Population

Williams, David A. (Editor), Bricks Without Straw: A Comprehensive History of African Americans in Texas


Major support for THIS WAY: A Houston Group Show is provided by the Mellon Foundation. Rebirth in Action is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Detail of Girolamo Ruscelli, Nueva Hispania Tabula Nova, 1574. Courtesy of the Houston History Research Center, Houston Public Library.

June 12, 2024 - March 15, 2025


Celebrating the opening of the Dr. James and Betty Key Map Room, Mapping Texas and Houston: Selections from the Houston History Research Center highlights some of the over 2000 maps at the Houston History Research Center. The maps have found their way into the collection via individual donations, as part of archival collections, and through the state document depository program. The new Key Map Room is a dedicated gallery space for displaying maps of Houston, Texas, and beyond, offering a unique opportunity for the public viewing of these beautiful and educational pieces of history.

This exhibition explores the changing shapes of Texas and Houston, starting with 16th century world maps from the European Age of Discovery. As explorers traversed the region, our understanding of the shape of the Texas coastline and the geography of its landforms and waterways grew more accurate. The maps record the dramatic evolution of the state’s boundaries through colonization, revolutions, and US statehood.




Historical maps of Houston and surrounding areas, digitized items include the earliest map of Houston, Gail and Thomas H. Borden's “Plan of the City of Houston,” and the 1869 map by W. E. Wood.

Dr. Claude Elliott Texana Collection (MSS 0048)

Dr. Elliott was formerly a professor of history of San Marcos Teacher's College, San Marcos, Texas, and was a collector of Texana for many years. The Elliott collection consists of 23 early Texas documents which Dr. Elliott considered to be the finest in his collection. These documents will be of value to researchers on the land policies of Mexico and the Republic of Texas.

Robert P. Boyce Papers (MSS 0038)

Robert P. Boyce (1816-1889) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and claimed his memoirs to “come of a hard headed race.” He was a veteran of both the Texas Revolution and the U.S. Civil War. An important milestone during his military career transpired when he was assigned to guard Santa Anna following the Texas victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. This collection is comprised of a scrapbook, which contains newspaper clippings and mementos, a handwritten memoir and corresponding typescripts, maps, and photographs from the life of Robert P. Boyce.



Bryan, James P., Texas in Maps, 1961


Fehrenbach, T. R., Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans, 2000


Francaviglia, Richard V., The Shape of Texas: Maps as Metaphors, 1995


Harrigan, Stephen, Big Wonderful Thing, 2019


Jackson, Jack, Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast: The Contributions of Saint-Denis, Oliván, and Le Maire, 1990


Martin, James C. and Martin, Robert Sidney, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513 – 1900, 1984, 1999


Martin, Robert Sidney and Martin, James C., Contours of Discovery: Printed Maps Delineating the Texas and Southwestern Chapters of Cartographic History of North America, 1513-1900, 1982


Reinhartz, Dennis, The Mapping of the Entradas into the Greater Southwest, 1998


Texas Christian University, Center for Texas Studies, Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, 2007


The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, The Shifting Shapes of Early Texas: Some Highlights from UTA Libraries Special Collections, 2022


Virga, Vincent, Texas: Mapping the Lone Star State through History, 2010


Installation view of George Washington Carver: His Life, Work, and Faith

January 18 – June 29, 2024

George Washington Carver (c.1864-1943) was an agricultural scientist and inventor. Although born enslaved, Carver grew up a free child and was encouraged to pursue his education. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees form Iowa State Agricultural College, Booker T. Washington invited him in 1896 to head the Agriculture Department at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Carver stayed at Tuskegee for the rest of his life, dedicating his time to teaching and researching plants. He focused on plants like peanuts and sweet potatoes that could restore depleted soil and advised farmers to practice crop rotation. His research led to new foods and hundreds of industrial and commercial products.

This exhibit features photographs and documents from the Tuskegee University Archives at Tuskegee University and recently discovered handwritten and typewritten letters on loan from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In these letters, Carver writes to his friend, Miss Vivian Combacker, about his personal life, work, and Christian spiritual values.



Hersey, Mark D., My Work is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver


Bolden, Tonya, George Washington Carver

Gigliotti, Jim, Who was George Washington Carver?

Jazynka, Kitson, George Washington Carver


Tuskegee University Archives, George Washington Carver (Digital Collection)

This exhibition is generously supported by the Tuskegee University Archives at Tuskegee University, Texas Public Policy Foundation, City of Houston, Houston Public Library, and Houston Public Library Foundation


Installation view of Black Houston and the Arts
February 8 - May 31, 2024

From painting and sculpture to photography and decor, African American fine art covers a wide range of styles and techniques. The creative expression of Black art captures themes of identity, history, lived experiences, the beauty of the African diaspora, and so much more.

This exhibition highlights the artwork of Timekeepers Resource Awardable Coalition (TRAC) members, a Houston area group of senior artists who studied under the guidance of nationally renowned artist and muralist Dr. John Biggers, sculptor Carol Simms or in the Art department at Texas Southern University (TSU). A railroad track, once essential in Houston, became a resource of the Art Center on TSU's campus and is represented today by TRAC. The railroad track defines the fine line between creative arts and cognitive growth. Each artist learned the significance of carefully placed pillars, spikes, and rail which tie together humanities of the past with present day passions.

Artists featured in the show include Moses Adams, Jr., Geraldine Crossland, John C. Davis, Rickey Donato, Karl Hall, Earl Sampson Jones, Will North, Elizabeth Montgomery Shelton, Jesse Sifuentes, Vernon Simmons, Roy Thomas, and Shunshieva Trahan.


Installation view of Women Who Dare

March 1 - May 29, 2024

In honor of Women's History Month, the Houston Public Library and Women's Caucus for Art Texas (WCA Texas) presents the exhibit Women Who Dare. Women Who Dare is a WCA Texas members art exhibit of over 35 works in various media and styles interpreting the theme.

WCA Texas is one of more than a dozen chapters of the Women’s Caucus for Art, a leading non-profit national organization for women actively engaged in the visual arts professions. Their mission is to create community through art, education, and social activism by recognizing the contribution of women in the arts; providing women with leadership opportunities and professional development; expanding networking and exhibition opportunities for women; supporting local, national and global art activism; and advocating for equity in the arts for all.

For more information about WCA Texas, please visit


Please join us for the following events:

Opening Reception | Saturday, March 2, 2024 - 3:00 - 4:30 PM 
Panel Discussion | Saturday, April 27, 2024 - 2:00 - 3:30 PM



Installation view of the Houston Brick Archive

February 5 – June 1, 2024

The Houston Brick Archive highlights a large collection of bricks salvaged from sites around Houston over the past several years. The bricks are studied from various angles, their origins traced, and their qualities explored.

They are treated as invaluable ruins, processed in a way that is scientific but also impulsive, walking a line between curiosity and fetishism. Part theater, part research project, the Archive combines sculpture, photography, and other documents focusing on the bricks’ physical qualities and histories. By tracing their origins and migrations to become part of Houston, the bricks can server as a metaphor for change, migrations, and the diverse and dynamic fabric of the world.

Alexander Squier is an interdisciplinary artist, working across media including printmaking, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, and sound. Based in his hometown of Houston, Texas, he works out of his studio at BOX 13 ArtSpace in the city’s East End District and teaches periodic printmaking classes at Art League Houston and the Houston Printing Museum. He has also taught at the University of Houston and headed up the Printmaking Department at the Glassell School of Art (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) from 2016-2020.


Please join us for the following events:

Artist Talk: Houston Brick Archive | Saturday, June 1, 2024 - 1:00 - 2:00 PM 




This exhibition is generously supported by Alexander Squier, City of Houston, Houston Public Library, and Houston Public Library Foundation


Installation view of 8th Annual Youth Art Showcase: Self-Love at Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library

May 9 - May 28, 2024

The Center for School Behavioral Health's Youth Art Showcase is an annual celebration and awareness event highlighting the benefits of art as a healthy means of expression and coping, and the importance of engaging youth in conversations about mental health.

The theme for 2024 is self-love. Self-love can lead to better mental health, higher self-esteem, and more motivation, but it can look different for everybody. What comes to mind when you hear "self-love?" What does loving yourself look like for you?

Greater Houston area students ages 5-20 were invited to submit original art in the following forms: collage, drawings, mixed media, mosaics, needlework, paint, photography, and 3-D.


Visit one of these locations to view this year's submissions:

Please join us for the following events:

Youth Art Showcase Awards Ceremony │ Saturday, May 11, 2024 - 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM 
Big Feelings! │ Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 2:00 - 4:30 PM


Field is required.