My Montrose: Houston Museum District’s Laurette Canizares
1. Much of the Museum District lies within the Montrose Management District’s boundaries. This can be confusing for people. How do you explain the differences and overlap between us?
We feel the Houston Museum District is comprised of portions of some of the most beautiful and friendly parts of Houston. Montrose Management District starts at the heart of the Museum District at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and extends to the north and west to include Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, The Jung Center of Houston, Houston Center for Photography, The Rothko Chapel and The Menil Collection. To the south and the east lie our beautiful neighbors in Museum Park, Hermann Park, Rice University, and the Southeast Management District which are home to the other 14 district institutions. We like to think that the museums in the district are representative of the diverse, creative communities found in all of these areas.
2. What are the advantages of being associated with a neighborhood like Montrose?
Montrose is the perfect blend of old and new! It’s one of the most vibrant and forward thinking areas of Houston with its diverse and creative population, galleries, innovative bars and restaurants, and surprisingly tranquil oak lined neighborhoods. Much of Houston’s history lies there, too. What more perfect association could there be for the Houston Museum District which represents innovation, creativity, history and science. Plus Montrose is the perfect spot to grab a meal and a cocktail after a day of museum exploration!
3. In July, MMD hosted our Business Mixer at the Houston Center for Photography. It was a great event, in a beautiful space. What are other ways you would like to see us working together to ensure a vibrant Montrose? We’re always working to increase collaboration between the museums in the district and local
The July mixer was a great way to showcase how a museum can be used for meeting and/or event space. Hosting the monthly mixers at the different cultural institutions helps influence where local business owners host their own upcoming events or annual meetings. The mixers are a great opportunity to spotlight the unique and unusual spaces that call Montrose home – including the Photo Shoot (place next to BB’s), Printing Museum, Watercolor Society, Station Museum, gallery row on Colquitt, just to name a few.
4. Most of the Museum District is walkable. What do you consider the major impacts of having our cultural destinations accessible to pedestrians via walking, biking, and mass-transit?
The Museum District is one of the largest concentration of cultural institutions within walking distance of one another in the country. This complements Houston’s growth, especially the Museum District/Third Ward/Midtown areas, where residents want pedestrian-friendly options. Of course the walkability of the area makes it easy for out of town visitors to explore the museums. Additionally, walking, the bicycle share program and light rail service not only promote healthier lifestyles, they also cut down on emissions improving overall air quality.
5. How has walk-ability effected the Museum District and events like The Museum Experience?
One of the main goals of the new Museum Experience events is to promote the walkability of this area. More people are walking and spending time in a specific area of the district! The Museum Experience uses “zones” to showcase a handful of museums at a time. It has encouraged visitors to stay in one area and explore the museums in that zone. The new programming model has improved the way our visitors navigate through the area and lessen the number of cars on the road in the District.
6. With 19 diverse museums it is hard to choose one as a standout. But, is there fun ‘insider’ info about any of the museums that you would like to share?
Ton of good stuff in here: http://houstonmuseumdistrict.org/learn-more-about-the-houston-museum-district/
7. As Houston has gained a reputation as an international city. How will this evolving status effect arts in the city?
Houston’s international status helps generate media attention that continues spreading the word about what we already know – Houston is a cultural and culinary mecca. The museums are one of the biggest draw why more and more visitors consider Houston a leisure destination. In fact, some Houston institutions are better known internationally than locally (i.e. The Menil Collection and Rice Art Gallery). The quality of museums that reside in Houston help bring certain exhibits that wouldn’t otherwise come through Houston. For example, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presented the unprecedented Black and White Picasso exhibit; Kenwood House and National Gallery of Art collections were relocated to Houston while both went through remodeling.
8. Do you have a favorite loop that you like to take when visiting the museums? What is the best way for visitors to the city to approach taking all of your offerings?
There are 19 museums in the District so there’s no way to see all of them at once. To make it even easier to explore, we divided the District into four walkable “zones.” This approach helps visitors divide and conquer the district, one area at a time. Something many visitors don’t know is 11 of the institutions are free every singe day. It’s easy to take a lunch break or fill in down time by discovering a new museum even if you only have 30-minutes.