Everyone knows the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It’s the city’s crown jewel, one of the finest and largest collecting museums in the country, and is in the middle of a vast campus building campaign.
But did you know there’s another Museum of Fine Arts in the Houston area? The Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts, located in Spring, has a goal of being “the leading fine arts museum in Greater Houston, outside of the museum district.” Housed in the former Barbara Bush Public Library, the museum, which is free to all, focuses on education and community with a variety of first-rate exhibits that have never been displayed in public.
Who was Pearl Fincher, you ask? She and her late husband Fred, along with their nine children, owned a chain of 15 automotive-related businesses in the Northwest Houston area at the time of his death in 1996 (they started with the Fred Fincher used car lot in 1959). A longtime trustee of many cultural and community institutions, Pearl seized upon the opportunity of converting the former library building into an art museum. It opened in March 2008, and Pearl died in 2010.
“The Pearl” is a non-collecting institution, borrowing from public and private collections. One fascinating current exhibit is Dignity in Labor: Texas Regionalism from the Bobbie and John L. Nau Collection, which captures a pivotal moment in Texas’ cultural history. Prevalent during the 1930s, Texas Regionalism was an American realist modern art movement wherein artists depicted rural life and landscape scenery of the Lone Star State. This group of artists captured the pure essence of Texas – its landscapes and people – at a defining moment as Texans suffered through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
The museum’s home is leased to them by the county, and it was renovated through private funds, grants and gifts. More than 3,000 donors have given to the museum to date. To support this cultural community asset, or to learn more about “The Pearl,” visit www.pearlmfa.org.