Must-Visit Contemporary Art Galleries In Dallas, Texas

Reading a placard at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Reading a placard at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. | Unsplash | Mark Pecar
Graziano Scaldaferri

Home to a community of new and established artists and spaces, Dallas‘s art scene is booming. From cultural institutions to pioneering exhibition spaces, these are ten must-visit galleries in Dallas.

Dallas Museum of Art

Founded in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the biggest and most reputable places to see art in the Texan city. Next to its program of rotating exhibitions, the museum offers its visitors a varied and international range of permanent art collections. The African Art collection focuses on artworks from the Sub-Saharan region, the Contemporary Art collection showcases an impressive selection of paintings and sculptures from contemporary artistic movements such as abstract expressionism and minimalism; and the Pacific Islands Art collection consists of sculptures and textiles made in Indonesian islands. A number of other collections, both permanent and temporary, are on display, demonstrating an impressive grasp on international – and American – art.

Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden

© Valley House Gallery

In the 1950s, artist Donald Vogel and his wife Peggy bought a six-acre, wooded lot in North Dallas, with the heartfelt intention of making it a cradle for the fine arts. And that is exactly what Valley House, the gallery Donald built in the lot, became. Valley House was one of the first galleries in Texas to deal in and exhibit modern and contemporary art. In particular, in its early years the gallery brought to Dallas works by modernist masters such as Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne. The quality of the exhibitions never ceased to amaze both the public and the critics, and so it happened that Valley House established its name as a historical cultural institution in Dallas and Texas. Unique to Valley House are also the surrounding gardens, often used as the set for exhibitions and where sculptures by internationally recognized artists are on permanent display.

Dallas Contemporary

Dallas Contemporary is a not-profit, non-collecting space wholeheartedly dedicated to public engagement through exhibitions of emerging and established, local and international contemporary artists. The gallery, situated in a former warehouse, clearly gets a kick out of urban, non-institutionalized art and aims to show it in a way that completely absorbs the viewer. The photo booth truck of JR, a street artist who takes portraits of locals on the back of his special van and then sticks them up in the streets, stopped here; and Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the iconic HOPE poster designed for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, was commissioned by Dallas Contemporary to make twelve murals at different spots in the city.

Circuit 12

© Circuit 12

The Dallas Design District is an area in the city established only in recent years, but one that has been at the heart of Dallas’s artistic boom. Many high-end stores, hip restaurants and contemporary art galleries have popped up all over the district, attracting the best and most passionate of Dallas-based young creatives. Gallery Circuit 12 is located in the very centre of the Design District, and stands out as one of the best galleries in the neighborhood. Husband and wife Dustin and Gina Orlando, the founders of the gallery, present some of the boldest, smartest and most original contemporary art shows in Dallas. One of the most successful, Even Flow, brought together three exciting new talents: the neon-based works of Patrick Martinez, the minimalist, graffitiesque patterns of Aaron De La Cruz, and the cartoon-inspired paintings of James Roper.

Talley Dunn Gallery

Arguably the greatest contemporary artist from the city of Dallas, the work of David Bates is currently the subject of a major retrospective which straddles two joint exhibitions in Dallas: his paintings are on view at the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth and his sculptures can be seen at Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center. David Bates is represented by Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas; and it is no less than a sign of excellence to have such a top-notch name in their portfolio of artists. Despite having its own exhibition space in Dallas and opening a number of exhibitions to the public around the year, it is not unusual for Talley Dunn to bring the work of its artists outside the gallery’s four walls, and partner with museums and institutions to organize shows in external venues.

Conduit Gallery

Former art teacher and the mastermind behind Conduit Gallery, Nancy Whitenack opened her own exhibition space in 1984. With no previous experience in running a gallery, Nancy had to learn everything about the business on the field – judging from the results, she did her homework quite well. Conduit Gallery represents almost 40 contemporary artists whose work is at the forefront of current art practices. The list includes the dreamlike, photographic compositions of Susan Kae Grant, the bright, imaginative collages of San Francisco’s acclaimed artist Rex Ray; and the monochromatic, large-scale paintings of Johnny Robertson. While the work of represented artists is exhibited in the two main rooms, a so-called Project Room is also to be found in the gallery. The room is a separate space reserved for selected young artists – usually recent graduates – who are given the chance to take their first steps on the art market.

PDNB Gallery

© PDNB Gallery

Photography lovers in Dallas cannot miss this corner in the city’s Design District: PDNB Gallery proudly exhibits photographs and lens-based artworks (PDNB stands for Photographs Do Not Bend) since 1995. The gallery’s permanent collection includes works by celebrated masters such as Magnum photographer Elliot Erwitt’s ironic images, or the sculptural flower arrangements by botanist-gone-photographer Karl Blossfeldt. But contemporary works can be found here as well: among them, the black and white New York landscapes by Michael Kenna and a few of Jock Sturges’ controversial nude portraits of adolescents. The rotating exhibition program is also a very interesting one, and explores the art of photography in its entire history and infinite forms.


CentralTrak is the name of the University of Texas at Dallas Artists Residency program. The building that houses the art space is located in the historical, downtown neighborhood of Deep Ellum, and is the temporary home to four emerging artists (three international, one Texan) selected on a periodical base through an application program. But CentralTrak also provides several studios for external artists to use as a workshop, making it a public and accessible space where young artists thrive on the exchange of ideas and practices. CentralTrak’s gallery, also located in the Deep Ellum building, is the place where this amazing amount of creative energy comes together. The gallery is open to all art forms, music included, in the Ex Mus (‘Experimental Music’) series.

The Goss-Michael Foundation

Not everybody knows this, but in addition to international fame and success as one of the greatest pop stars ever, George Michael is am art lover and collector; and so is Kenny Goss, his former partner. In 2005, Goss and Michael opened a commercial art gallery in Dallas, dealing especially in British contemporary art, but they soon realized they wanted to reach a wider public than a select few individuals wealthy enough to buy the art on display. Two years later, the Goss-Michael Foundation was born. This public space offers a program of rotating shows, each exhibiting a selection from the 500 works by over 75 British artists currently in the Foundation’s collection. Alongside the exhibitions, a variety of educational initiatives aimed specifically at art students and teachers is organized as a way to promote an understanding of the arts.


© LuminArtè

LuminArtè is an art and design gallery conveniently located in the Dallas Design District. The gallery represents over fifty artists from twenty-four countries, both emerging and established, working with a variety of media, styles and techniques. Among them, Robin Antar, a sculptor known for cutting everyday objects (hats, shoes, bottles, cookies, etc.) into stone; Waleed Arshad, an Iraqi-born painter living in exile in the United States, who brings the instability and displacement he experienced to his canvases; and H.M. Saffer ||, a multi-talented artist who, after achieving a good deal of success in both the music and the restaurant industry as a young man, eventually set on a career in visual arts..

See more of our United States Gallery Guides:

Texas | Austin’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Oregon | Portland’s Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Washington | Seattle’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

California | Ten Art Galleries in San Francisco

Kentucky | Lexington’s 10 Best Galleries

Rhode Island | The Best Art Galleries in Providence

Ohio | Cleveland’s Best Art Galleries

Arizona | Ten Cultural Reasons to Visit Arizona
By Graziano Scaldaferri
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