El Paso, TX Arts and Culture Overview

By Kevin Litwin and Braxton Shoop on May 11, 2014 at 6:00 am EST
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Whether you're into theater, visual arts, music or heritage sites, there's plenty to see and do in El Paso, with art and history museums, festivals, a symphony, ballet and more.

Festivals

Chalk the Block has quickly become a signature autumn event in El Paso, with dozens of talented artists creating sidewalk chalk art in the downtown district. Other well-attended annual events include Jazz on the Rocks, Dancing in the City, Neon Desert Music Festival, Cool Canyon Nights, Music Under the Stars, and an Alfresco! Fridays free live concert series each Friday evening from May through September at the Arts Festival Plaza. Also celebrated for two days every late June is the El Paso Downtown Street Festival.

Performing Arts

A summertime tradition in this community is Viva! El Paso, an annual musical production that has celebrated the vitality of this city for the past 35 years. Other local performing arts draws include the El Paso Symphony, UTEP Ballet, Scottish Rite Theater, the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center and the Abraham Chavez Theatre, a 2,500-seat concert hall whose exterior resembles a sombrero and features a three-story glass main entrance.

Visual Arts

The International Museum of Art is a must-see for any art enthusiast, as is the El Paso Museum of Art, which includes the Samuel H. Kress Collection of works by artists from the 13th through 18th centuries such as Bellotto, de Ribera, Fontana, Murillo and van Dyck.

History

History buffs savor educational experiences at the El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Holocaust Museum, Magoffin Home State Historic Site and the War Eagles Air Museum. A total of 22 aircraft from World War II and the Korean conflict are displayed at War Eagles Air Museum, along with a 1938 Packard car, M-38 Willy’s Jeep and Vulcan tank. Other history museums include the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at Wilderness Park, El Paso Railroad and Transportation Museum, Tigua Indian Cultural Center, and the Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums.

Public Art Project

Twelve sculptures will be permanently installed throughout El Paso as part of a Twelve Travelers Memorial of the Southwest outdoor art project. The individual sculptures will honor 12 visionaries who helped pave the way for El Paso to build its proud heritage and cultural diversity. Three statues have been completed while a fourth – former Mexican president Benito Juarez – is currently in progress. Other travelers being considered include Pancho Villa, John Wesley Hardin, Teresa de Urrea and Bartolo Pique.

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City Accolades

The mountains, the big epic sunsets, the great restaurants, all the things to do -- it's a phenomenally beautiful city and it felt like home the second I drove in on I-10.

Martin Bartlett, resident