Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of Asia Society?
Asia Society Texas Center is a non-partisan organization, dedicated to building bridges for a better understanding among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the West. The Texas Center strives to enrich and engage Houstonians by offering innovative and relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, and education. Through these offerings, we embrace diversity of thought and serve as a platform for the exchange of communication. Asia Society takes no institutional position on policy issues and has no affiliation with any government. All views expressed in its publications and on its website are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.
How large is Asia Society?
Asia Society has offices in 14 different cities: New York, Houston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Zurich. Currently, there are only 3 three operating centers: Texas, Hong Kong, and our main headquarters in New York.
Is Asia Society a part of the U.S. government, the United Nations, or any other multilateral or state organization?
No. Asia Society is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
How does Asia Society define Asia and why?
Asia Society's definition of Asia includes the more than 30 countries broadly defined as the Asia-Pacific region—the area from Japan to Saudi Arabia, and from Central Asia to New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. This definition of Asia is not an attempt to define what Asia ought to include or represent. It is a construct based on certain geographical, political, economic, and historical assumptions and is as flexible as any other definition might be.
Where does Asia Society receive its funding from?
Asia Society Texas Center, while a part of the global organization, is also its own nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, funded by the generous support of other foundations, corporations, and individuals non-affiliated with the global organization. Consider making a donation to support our mission.
Why is there an Asia Society in Houston?
Houston has consistently been named one of the most diverse cities in the United States and is home to a large number of Asians and Asian Americans. Recognizing the need to educate Americans about Asia, a group headed by former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Ambassador Roy M. Huffington established Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. Visit our Mission & History page to learn more about how the organization got started.
How long has the Center been around?
Construction on the $48.4 million building began in January 2010 and finished by fall 2011. It opened to the public April 14, 2012. To learn more about the building's architect and architecture, please visit our About the Building page. Monthly architecture tours are offered or can be scheduled with our education department.
Where is Asia Society Texas Center located?
Asia Society Texas Center is located at 1370 Southmore Boulevard in the heart of Houston's Museum District. For directions on how to get to Asia Society, please visit our Plan Your Visit page.
What are Asia Society Texas Center's hours?
The building is open Tuesday– Friday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Asia Society is closed to the public on Mondays and select holidays.
Where can I park?
Convenient paid parking is available in Asia Society's parking lot located directly across the building on Southmore Boulevard. Enter from either Caroline Street or Austin Street. The lot is $5 per 24 hours and accepts credit card payments only.
Five designated handicapped parking spaces and a bicycle rack are available in the front of the lot.
Limited metered parking is available on surrounding streets (Southmore Boulevard, Austin Street, and Oakdale Street). Restrictions are enforced.
Do I have to be a member to see the exhibitions or attend programs?
Asia Society is open to the public as are our programs, unless otherwise indicated. Asia Society members, however, receive exclusive benefits including free admission to the gallery, and free or discounted admission to author talks, artist programs, Asia Society film screenings, and other ticketed programs. Please visit our Membership page for more information on membership benefits.
Do I have to bring my membership card if I am a member?
Your card is not required to visit, however, providing your membership card upon entry will allow for faster check-in to programs and exhibitions.
Is there an admission fee to visit the building?
Admission to the building is free. Admission to the Sarofim Gallery is free for Asia Society Members and children ages 12 and under, $5 for Students and Seniors, and $8 for Nonmembers. All patrons ages 6 and over require a ticket for all ticketed programs. Please read our ticketing policies for more information.
Do you have a café?
Pondi, Pondicheri’s little sister café offers a vibrant and innovative menu featuring everything from butter chicken to saffron shrimp salad and roti wraps. Their extended lunch hours are Tuesday– Friday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Do you have a gift shop?
In support of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, we have taken the proactive step of temporarily closing Asia Society Texas Center.
Our building, exhibitions, and Pondi Café will remain closed until further notice. We have also cancelled or postponed all our remaining March and April public programs and events.
Updated March 16, 2020.
What should people do to protect themselves and others?
Advice from Houston’s Office of Emergency Management: “People should practice routine healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick.”
Additionally, unanimous recommendations from public health officials include:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds and/or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue, and discard tissue immediately into a closed bin.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, call Houston 3-1-1. If it is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
What kind of programs does Asia Society offer?
The Texas Center strives to enrich and engage Houstonians by offering innovative and relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, and education.
Asia Society hosts a variety of programs throughout the year including artist talks, author programs, film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, and dance performances. Asia Society also holds a community Night Market and AsiaFest each year. To see a listing of all our program offerings, please visit our Upcoming Events page. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter or follow our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to be notified of upcoming events.
Asia Society takes no institutional position on policy issues and has no affiliation with any government. All views expressed in its publications and on its website are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.
What learning opportunities are available for students and teachers?
Besides school tours, Asia Society offers yearly ExploreAsia summer camps for kids, as well as a Young Leaders Institute for high school students. For more information, please visit our Student Programs page.
Can I list my event on Asia Society’s web calendar?
Only Asia Society events are listed on our institutional website.
What is the procedure for submitting program proposals?
If you would like to submit a program proposal, please complete and submit the form found on the Mission & History page of our website. Asia Society is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. Due to the large number of submissions, it may take up to one year to review your materials. Please do not call Asia Society to inquire about the status of your submission. We do not guarantee a response but will be in contact with you if we are interested in your idea.
Where can I find event recaps or recordings of past programs?
Do you provide guided tours for the building and exhibitions, and if so, when are they?
We provide monthly guided tours for our buiding and exhibitions, usually on the first or second Saturday of the month. See our list of upcoming tour dates. To schedule a school or group tour outside of these designated days, please contact Michael Buening at MBuening@AsiaSociety.org.
What kind of art will I find at Asia Society Texas Center?
The museum exhibits traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian American art. The center is not a collecting institution; therefore, the exhibitions and artwork rotate throughout the year. Asia Society Texas Center’s only permanent exhibition is Korean artist Lee Ufan’s Relatum — signal, located in the Allen Sculpture Garden, installed February 29, 2011. For more information on past, current, or upcoming exhibitions, please visit our Exhibitions page.
Can I take pictures of the building and the artwork?
Patrons are encouraged to capture their experiences at Asia Society. Photography/videography of art in the building is permitted on a case by case basis. In spaces where photography is allowed, the use of flash, as well as tripods and monopods, is prohibited at all times.
Note that signage on the doors of the Asia Society main entrance state that photography is not allowed. As such, Asia Society reserves the right to withhold and/or withdraw permission to photograph/video on its premises.
No photographs or video taken in the building may be reproduced, distributed, or sold without permission. Please contact the Vice President of Communication with special photography/videography requests at JPartain@AsiaSociety.org or 713.496.9908.
How are the themes and topics of Asia Society programs and exhibitions selected?
Asia Society exhibitions are an important component of accomplishing our mission as an organization. We endeavor to bring to our audience the highest quality art curated with excellent scholarship, ranging across the regions of Asia and the time periods in its history. Exhibitions are selected based on these goals. Asia Society Texas Center is not a collecting institution.
What is the procedure for submitting Exhibition proposals?
If you would like to submit an Exhibition proposal, please complete and submit the form found on the Mission & History page of our website. Asia Society is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. Due to the large number of submissions, it may take up to one year to review your materials. Please do not call Asia Society to inquire about the status of your submission. We do not guarantee a response but will be in contact with you if we are interested in your idea.
How do I donate works of art to Asia Society Texas Center?
Asia Society Texas Center is not a collecting institution. Asia Society Museum in New York is; however, the Museum’s collection policy is highly selective. In order for the museum to consider the work, a photograph of the work must be provided to the Curator of Traditional Asian Art or the Curator of Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art for consideration. Address the envelope:
Asia Society Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021-5088
How can I find out the value of a work of art, its provenance, or attribution?
Museum staff cannot answer questions referring to the value, provenance, or attribution of any work of art or recommend individual appraisers because of a potential conflict of interest. To locate an appraiser that matches your needs, call or visit the websites of the following professional associations:
I have damaged artwork. How do I find a conservator?
To find a conservator in your area, visit The American Institute for Conservation for referrals.
Can I rent the facility for a private event?
Spaces available for rent include the Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall, Water Garden Terrace, and Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center. The cost of rental varies depending on the number of guests and which spaces you choose to rent. To view our different spaces, or for more information, please visit our Space Rental page. You can email EventsTX@AsiaSociety.org with any questions.
Please note that the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery cannot be rented.
Can I use Asia Society as the location for a photo shoot?
The use of Asia Society for commercial photography (wedding photos, corporate headshots, etc.) is considered a rental. For a 2-hour session, prices start at $200 for interior and $100 for exterior. Should you wish to take photographs at Asia Society, please contact EventsTX@AsiaSociety.org or 713.496.9901.
Do I need permission to use Asia Society's website and social media photos?
For press and other special photography requests, including commercial and educational film projects, please contact the Vice President of Communication at JPartain@AsiaSociety.org or 713.496.9908.
Are there any job openings at Asia Society?
Please visit our Career Opportunities page for a listing of open positions at Asia Society Texas Center.
How can I volunteer with Asia Society?
Please visit our Volunteer page for a listing of current volunteer opportunities. Complete the form found at the bottom of the page.