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Tyler Arts and Culture

Tyler Texas Arts District ...  "Where Music Lives"
Tyler Downtown Arts District "Where Music Lives"
(TylerTexasOnline staff photo)

Located in the rolling hills of East Texas in Smith County mid-way between Dallas and Shreveport, Tyler has a wide range of appeal.

Tyler's lifestyle has the characteristics, feel, benefits and safety of a small town, but also has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with the advantages of a variety of arts and cultural activities.

From musicals to symphony orchestra performances, from plays to Broadway shows, Tyler offers top-notch entertainment options and a variety of arts and cultural activities including a diverse choice of art galleries and museums.

A major annual event is the Tyler Art Festival, next scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2024, on the downtown Tyler square.

The 11th annual Tyler Film Festival is scheduled for September 12-14, 2024, at the Liberty Hall Theatre in downtown Tyler.

The R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center

The renown R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of the University of Texas at Tyler, presents a variety of Broadway shows, plays and musicals.

David G. and Jacqueline M. Braithwaite Recital Hall at the Unversity of Texas at Tyler
Braithwaite Recital Hall at UT-Tyler (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)

Inside, the Jim and Bonna Bess Vaughn Auditorium seats 2,000 patrons in a warm acoustical environment. A full Broadway-sized stage includes a hydraulically-controlled orchestra pit floor which may be raised for concert use, or lowered for musical theatre productions.

Another facility inside the Cowan is the David G. and Jacqueline M. Braithwaite Recital Hall. It is a lovely chamber music venue and regularly hosts solo recitals and small chamber performances. It seats 161 patrons in three sections, with ample access for those with physical disabilities.

Plans were announced in January of 2015 for the UT Tyler Center for the Musical Arts, south of the existing Cowan Center at a cost of $6.5 million. The new 2-story facility includes a 70-seat band/orchestra practice room and a 72-seat choir practice room. The center also houses teaching studios for individual student and faculty instruction, a music library, faculty offices and instrument storage.

At the website of the Cowan Center

Cowan Center at the University of Texas - Tyler
Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)

Symphony Orchestra

The Tyler Symphony Orchestra began performances in March, 1936, and was renamed the East Texas Symphony Orchestra in 1954 to reflect the broader geographical audience which it serves.

It offers presentation of classical and contemporary music in diverse settings, at the Cowan Center, and at other venues such as the Caldwell Auditorium and outdoor park concerts.

At the website of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra

East Texas Youth Orchestra (ETYO)

ETYO has been serving the East Texas area in various forms since 1955. The mission of the ETYO is to provide exceptional musical experiences in arts education through a diverse set of programs providing performances that enrich its members and the community.

Its ensembles include a symphony orchestra, philharmonic orchestra and Jazz academy. It rehearses primarily in Tyler.

East Texas Youth Orchestra
East Texas Youth Orchestra

Through its various ensembles, ETYO accomplishes this mission by meeting the following objectives:

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Encourgement
  • Excellence
  • Enrichment
  • Enjoyment

At the website of the East Texas Youth Orchestra

Liberty Hall

Details inside Liberty Hall in Tyler Texas
Details inside Liberty Hall (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)

The Liberty Theater originally was opened in 1930 as a first-run movie theater on the south side of the Tyler square, and continued in operation for 50 years.

The Liberty is once again home to memory-making events and entertainment after it was converted into Liberty Hall and re-opened in September 2011.

The hall is now the locale for a variety of quality entertainment, ranging from nationally known artists to regional and local entertainers from all genres of music, comedy, theater as well as classic movies. The theater is also available for rental to other organizations that present entertainment as well as for civic and private functions. It is located at 103 E. Erwin in downtown Tyler.

At the website of the Liberty Hall

Caldwell Auditorium

The Caldwell Auditorium is part of the Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy, and is operated by the Tyler Independent School District (TISD). It is located at 300 South College Avenue near downtown Tyler.

It is the site of a variety of performances and musical events through the year, including concerts sponsored by the Tyler Community Concert Association. It offers theater seating for 1,792 attendees.

At the website of the Caldwell Auditorium

Tyler Civic Theatre Center (TCTC)

Braithwaite Theatre, Tyler, Texas, near the Rose Garden and Convention Center
Braithwaite Theatre

Tyler Civic Theatre Center (TCTC) evolved from Tyler Little Theatre, formed in 1927. Through the tireless efforts of volunteers and the generosity of foundations and the public, TCTC's new home was christened in September 2000.

The original stage was renovated and rebuilt to house Rogers Children's Theatre. Student-actors are educated in all aspects of play production in classes designed for preschoolers through adults. The new Braithwaite Theatre at TCTC seats 350, almost twice the seating capacity of the original facility. The entire complex is called Tyler Civic Theatre Center.

It provides live thrillers & comedies for adults and classics good for the whole family. The center also offers summer drama camps, workshops, and classes for students age 4 through adult. The facility can also be rented.

TCTC is located at 400 Rose Park Drive near the Tyler Rose Garden and across from the W.T. Brookshire Conference Center.

At the website of the Tyler Civic Theatre Center

Tyler Museum of Art

Tyler Museum of Art in East Texas
Tyler Museum of Art

The highly-respected Tyler Museum of Art, located on the campus of Tyler Junior College showcases both permanent, rotating and visiting collections.

The Museum contains two major exhibition galleries on the ground floor, the North Gallery and the Bell Gallery. There is also a library, classroom, café, and gift shop.

The museum's growing permanent collection features over 1,200 works including paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture by artists such as James Surls, Vernon Fisher, Alexander Calder, and Charles Umlauf.

The Museum is currently engaged in the design of an expanded facility. 

About the Tyler Museum of Art

Gallery Main Street

Gallery Main Street, Tyler, Texas
Gallery Main Street, Tyler, Texas

Gallery Main Street serves as a cornerstone of the Downtown Business, Arts and Culture District as a fine art gallery showcasing the work of area artists.

Occupying the beautifully renovated lobby at the Plaza Tower located at 110 N. College Avenue, the gallery offers Tylerites and visitors the opportunity to view fine art created by area artists. Exhibits at the gallery rotate on a continuous schedule, so there is always something new and beautiful to see.

Each exhibit opens with a Saturday evening reception that features music, an opportunity to meet the artists, refreshments and more. Exhibit openings are free and open to the public.

Gallery Main Street is also home to many arts activities, including workshops. Check its calendar of events for more information.

About Gallery Main Street

Downtown Art Alley

Downtown Art Alley,Tyler, Texas
Downtown Art Alley,Tyler, Texas

The Art Alley project was created to introduce a space for local artists to collectively display their talents and reactivate a connective alley in Downtown Tyler. The project fosters a vibrant space where local artists could collectively display their talents and reactivate a connective alley downtown while creating an art destination for our community.

This project features over 40 local artists who produced 43 uniquely hand-painted murals. Art Alley also includes a Community Panel, allowing visitors to create their own works of art within the alley.

The Alley is located behind the 200 Block of W. Erwin St., connecting College Avenue and Bois d’Arc Avnue.

About the Downtown Art Alley

UT Tyler Meadows Gallery

The Meadows Gallery is located within the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler and features rotating exhibitions throughout the year.

The Meadows Gallery exhibition schedule includes nationally known guest artist exhibitions, our Annual International Exhibition, faculty curated exhibitions, MFA thesis exhibitions, and a student juried exhibition each summer.

The Annual International Exhibition takes place each January and is juried by an invited guest artist, historian or critic. Recent jurors include Cotter Luppi, Mark Williams, Barry Whistler, Richard Ash and Elizabeth Yarosz-Ash.

About UT Tyler Meadows Gallery

UT Tyler Fine Arts Complex Gallery

The Fine Arts Complex Gallery is located in the new Fine Arts Complex on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler. The FAC Gallery provides a place for invited artists, undergraduates and graduate students to display their works.

Featuring BFA Senior Exhibitions and other student-driven collaborations, this gallery provides students with a clean space to install, view and photograph work inside the complex.

In conjunction with special topics art history courses, students have curated special exhibitions from the Tyler Museum of Art’s permanent collection, given talks on the work and hosted opening receptions in the gallery.

About UT Tyler Fine Arts Complex Gallery

Tyler Civic Chorale

An integral part of the Tyler’s musical landscape for over five decades, the Tyler Civic Chorale aims to present a wide variety of choral music through high quality performances for the enjoyment and education of East Texas audiences.

Over the course of its history, the Chorale has sung requiems by Brahms, Mozart, Duruflé, and Faure, as well as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, and dozens of other masses, motets, cantatas, and oratorios.

Each year the Tyler Civic Chorale presents four to five concerts, as well as various guest appearances in the community.

About the Tyler Civic Chorale

Other Tyler Museums

Located adjacent to the famous Tyler Rose Garden is the Tyler Rose Museum, which showcases and documents the history of the annual Texas Rose Festival.

The Goodman-LeGrand Museum & Gardens, built in 1859, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated a Texas Historic Landmark. This historic home is open for walk-in tours, while group tours, photograph sessions, meetings, and other functions must be scheduled in advance. The home is located at 624 North Broadway just north of downtown. Adjacent to the home is the LeGrand Park & Gardens, also open to the public. The facility is owned and operated by the City of Tyler.

The Cotton Belt Depot Museum houses a collection of four large model train layouts, photographs, uniforms, hats, etc. that have been donated by former employees of the railroad, and friends of the depot.

The Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is a large regional aviation museum located at Tyler's Pounds Regional Airport, in the old passenger terminal building.

The Texas African American Museum (TAAM) was established in 2016. TAAM is a program under the auspices of Empowerment Community Development Corporation a 501(c) non-profit organization. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the African American History of Texas and America, and focused on education and historic preservation of African American history both on a regional and national level. The Museum is located at 309 West Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, in Tyler.

The Carnegie History Center is located at 125 South College Avenue in downtown Tyler, in a historic structure that originally housed a Carnegie Public Library. Although the old Library in-and-of-itself is a historical treasure, the exhibits housed within weave together the history of Smith County, Texas seamlessly through permanent and temporary exhibits. This museum displays artifacts that reflect the historic, social, economic and political culture of Smith County. The building also is the home to the Smith County Historical Society.

The American Freedom Museum is located just a few blocks from downtown Bullard on the Brookhill School campus, south of Tyler. The Museum contains 15,000 sq.ft. of galleries showcasing a collection of over 600 artifacts and documents about our nation’s history.

And if you're looking for a good place to take the children or school groups, tour the Discovery Science Place downtown at 308 N. Broadway Avenue. Phone 903.533.8011.

About Tyler Museums