Galveston has so many things to fall in love with, from its glistening beaches, to the Victorian homes that dot the island’s East End, and the rustic shrimp boats that line Pier 19.
But there’s much, much more, especially if you’re an art lover. Entering this art world is as easy as venturing onto Postoffice Street for an enchanting blend of art galleries, antique shops and chic eateries.
“I know that people like to go to the beach and to The Strand, but when people like to do something different that’s more arts- and culture-related, the Postoffice arts district has a lot of nice things to offer,” said Robert A. Peterson, an artist who owns Vacation on Canvas at 2204 Postoffice.
To get to Postoffice Street, enter the downtown district at the corner of 25th Street and Harborside Drive, walk two blocks down 25th Street and turn left onto Ship's Mechanic Row. To your left is the historic Tremont House.
Farther up 23rd Street, take a left on Postoffice to enjoy a casual stroll this portion of the Galveston Downtown Cultural Arts District (designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts). From its one-of-a-kind paintings and sculptures, to folk art and the surreal, Postoffice Street's galleries are enticing in their diversity. Here are some “must-see” arts venues to check out on your next trip to Galveston:
The Emporium at Eiband’s
The Emporium at Eiband’s is a full-service decorative and design center. Customers can stroll through the shop and enjoy the unique pieces and special finds collected just for The Emporium. The art venue highlights the wares of over 30 dealers and artists, and includes clothing, jewelry, books, furniture, antiques, art, architectural salvage and interior design services.
Rene Wiley Gallery
This jewel of an art shop is owned and operated by Capt. Ben Wiley, whose wife, Rene, is the featured artist – along with daughters, Samantha Wiley and Rachel Wiley-Janota.
“My wife is one of the most sold painters in the whole country,” Capt. Wiley said. “She just happens to paint here, and she paints just about everything... The Postoffice area is the place to be. There’s not the same traffic as The Strand, but it’s a whole different kind of area.”
Be sure to check out this contemporary art and craft gallery, which also offers interior design and space planning by interior designer Elizabeth G. Lanier.
Old Galveston Trading Company
A visit to this cool shop is to venture into the fun and whimsical.
“We have lots of local artists and we try to find things that are different and unique,” said owner Bret Lowry. “I don’t want people to walk in and see things that are in every shop. We have everything from photography to intarsia, a form of Italian wood inlaying where everything is like a puzzle.”
The Postoffice Street art scene “is wonderful because of the fact that there’s so many different types of artists and they all learn from each other’s different methods,” he said. “You can go from store to store and see so many different art forms that you won’t see anywhere else.”