Austin Art Galleries: Venues in bloom

This is the season when new visual arts galleries seem to sprout up everywhere like bluebonnets, and this spring brings us a bumper crop

Man, not even the first day of spring, and already we have a bumper crop blooming all across the city. No, not bluebonnets – art galleries. This is the season when new showplaces for visual art seem to sprout up everywhere just like Texas' national flower. In recent weeks, we've received notice of four galleries making their debut in March, and we expect there are more. This week, as you dash from showcase to showcase or film to film, keep an eye out for these oases of paintings, sculptures, and more.

* 4WFA (Four Walls Fine Art), 115 E. Fifth Street. Michael Terrazas, the owner of Starlite, is behind this arts space in a historic building with soaring ceilings. First exhibition: paintings by Elizabeth Chapin (portraits of her family and folks from Mississippi, where she grew up) and photographs by Kevin Greenblatt. Show runs through the end of April. For more information, call 560-8847.

* New Arts Gallery, 1601 E. Fifth #106. After losing its Little Gallery in the 2005 Guadalupe Arts Center fire, DiverseArts – which had to operate out of storage units and founder/director Harold McMillan's home – suspended its visual-arts program. But the cultural organization has acquired office space in Saltillo Lofts and is dedicating part of it to a new visual-arts venue. First exhibition: "Fresh Black Paint," featuring paintings by Terrence Moline and Charles Randolph. The soft opening was March 3; grand opening is Sunday, April 1. For more information, call 477-9438.

* 1906, 301 Chicon Ste. I. Austin native Roberto Ainslie grew up on graffiti and came to love art so much that now he's opening his own space, named for an inside joke between him and his girlfriend – after a 2006 visit to Kyoto, he told her it looked just like it did 100 years ago. Serendipitously, 1906 would also be the gallery's street number if the building's address were on Third instead of Chicon. First exhibition: "City Folk," a solo show of large-scale portraits painted by former local Christa Palazzolo since she moved to New York last year. The show opened Friday, March 9, and runs through April 12. For more information, call 773-6676.

* Darkroom Studio and Gallery, 301 Chicon Ste. E. Okay, Darkroom isn't exactly new, but we snuck this resource for local photographers in because it's launching a new series of nonphotography shows. First exhibition: "The Llamerret Show," organized by performance artist Andy Rihn "in honor of the beloved Incan folkloric animal of the exhibition's title" and featuring work by Mike Aho, Mike Sieben, Josh Rios, Adam Young, Aubrey Edwards, Steiner Kierce, Mike Parsons, Ryan Hennessee, Francesca Russo, Silky, and Sam de la Rosa. Show runs through March 31. For more information, call 542-9361.

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