Austin’s West Chelsea Contemporary Redefines the Art Gallery Experience

Long have art lovers assumed galleries are reserved for the wealthy. As the snobbish gentry sip their aged wine and float from piece to piece, silently creating stories about the artist’s true inspiration and the work’s hidden meanings, the rest of us go about our lives, oblivious to the goings on of the contemporary art industry.

Austin’s West Chelsea Contemporary flips that stereotype on its head, making contemporary art accessible to everyone.

Austin’s West Chelsea Contemporary

The simple outside façade is the first indication that this is not your typical gallery. The large windows seek to showcase the work inside, enticing window shoppers to meander in for a closer look. 

Upon entering the ample warehouse space, you’ll be greeted by a smiling consultant, happy to share the work with you regardless of whether you look like you can afford it.

The classical music typical of most galleries is replaced by more modern tunes, creating an upbeat vibe while enhancing the friendly atmosphere.

West Chelsea Contemporary’s Mission

West Chelsea Contemporary aims to make art available to everyone. While they offer plenty of high-value works for serious collectors, such as original Dali etchings (which can be viewed by appointment only), they also provide opportunities for people in the beginning stages of their art collections and those interested in learning more about contemporary art.

The main goal is to break the stigma about collecting art and art galleries in general. Art investment often intimidates beginners, who may not know where to start. People feel judged walking into typical galleries, so they don’t engage.

Allee Beatty, Gallery Director of West Chelsea Contemporary, wants to break that stigma. “We want you to walk in and be a friend,” she says, adding that art is a great equalizer, and she wants patrons to read, learn and engage at their own pace. Beatty stresses that she wants to “give the people who share space with us permission to be themselves.”

Museum Quality Programs

West Chelsea Contemporary walks the walk. Although dealing art is their core business, they also offer a variety of museum-quality programs allowing the public to engage with contemporary art in ways they wouldn’t think possible.

The gallery hosts artists’ talks, inviting contemporary artists to share their stories and inspirations. They share reels of the event on Instagram, allowing anyone on social media to engage with the art from the comfort of their own home.

West Chelsea Contemporary constantly rotates its exhibitions, showcasing works from various contemporary artists from the US and abroad. Some shows even feature works on loan from private collectors, offering the public a rare opportunity to view pieces critical to the development of various contemporary art movements.

The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and available to answer patrons’ questions about the work, whether they intend to buy or not. They want everyone to have the opportunity to engage with contemporary art.

In keeping with their mission to make art accessible to all, the gallery and all events are free and open to the public. Although tickets aren’t required, West Chelsea Contemporary encourages those interested in attending to RSVP with the appropriate Eventbrite link.

Something For Everyone

Austin’s West Chelsea Contemporary prides itself on the motto “art for all” and lives up to the claim. They offer original works from emerging and local artists for as little as $100 and works from famed artists for six figures and beyond.

In addition, the gallery features a lively gift shop filled with prints, buttons, mugs, posters, and other items displaying popular works, so those looking to celebrate art with knickknacks, stickers, or everyday items can find the perfect piece.

Supporting Local Artists

In addition to offering programs highlighting internationally renowned artists, West Chelsea Contemporary strives to support and promote local and emerging artists.

Some notable Austin-based artists the gallery features include Mila Sketch, Bill Travis, Ash Almonte, and Matthew Trujilo.

Where is West Chelsea Contemporary?

West Chelsea Contemporary has an excellent location on West Sixth Street, just a few short blocks from the iconic strip drawing visitors to Austin.

The ideal location makes it easily accessible for those enjoying Austin’s downtown offerings on the quieter, western side of 6th Street. 

Plan Your Visit

Whether an Austin local or out-of-town visitor, West Chelsea Contemporary should be on your Austin to-do list. 

Check the website for current exhibitions and videos of past events.