Mission & History
With 12 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the west. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.
Forward-thinking Houstonians led by former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Ambassador Roy M. Huffington established Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. Sharing the vision of John D. Rockefeller 3rd, who founded Asia Society in New York in 1956, they recognized the need to educate Americans about Asia and to forge closer ties between Houston and the peoples and institutions of Asia.
In 1995 the Texas Center’s Board of Directors voted to build a home for its programs and activities. The Board selected Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, best-known in this country for his renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to design the building, located in Houston’s Museum District.
Completed in early fall 2011, the 40,000-square-foot Center features the 273-seat Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall, and more. It opened to the public April 14, 2012.
With the opening of the Center, Asia Society takes its place as a major educational and cultural institution in the region, the driving force in transforming Houston into an Asia-Pacific city.
Arts & Culture
Arts and Culture programs at Asia Society contribute to the health and vibrancy of Houston by connecting diverse communities and celebrating human creativity through art. The Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater is an important hub of activity at the Texas Center, serving as the home for dance performances, concerts, theatrical productions, film screenings, and author presentations.
Business & Policy
Business and Policy programs examine critical social issues and create relevant dialogue on ideas shaping our shared relationship with Asia. Through panel discussions, program luncheons, and high-level briefings, Asia Society’s programs connect Houstonians with ambassadors, dignitaries, business leaders, academics, and policy makers working the front lines of these important issues.
Education & Outreach
Asia Society’s unique perspective — at the meeting points of east and west— allows it to transfer a breadth of cultural knowledge and insight to Houstonians of all ages. Education and outreach programs include free school tours, educator workshops, language courses, and health and wellness classes. AsiaFest, Family Days, and Creation Stations are opportunities where families learn more about Asian culture through demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, and storytelling. Summer camps such as ExploreAsia and the Young Leaders Institute help foster global competency, youth leadership skills, and cultural awareness throughout the community.
Exhibitions on view span cultures, centuries, and a variety of artistic forms, offering visitors a unique perspective into the talents and traditions of artists around the world. Exhibitions in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery and Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall rotate throughout the year, while a permanent exhibition, Relatum — signal by Korean artist Lee Ufan, is on view in the Texas Center’s Allen Sculpture Garden.
Asia Society Texas Center welcomes proposals for exhibitions, programs, and events. Due to the high number of proposals, a response may not be immediate and not all requests will be granted. Please note that the Texas Center’s exhibitions, programs, and events schedules are usually determined 12 to 36 months in advance.
Video: Get to Know Asia Society
Video: Coming Together in Mutual Respect
Asia Society Texas Center is a BBB Charity Member and a BBB Accredited Charity.