Day Trips: Pop Art Museum, San Angelo

Outdoor museum offers art in an unusual place


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Pop Art Museum in San Angelo salutes the "people's art" in a former bowling alley with no roof.

The style of art mastered by the likes of Andy Warhol and Peter Max during the 1960s has a comedic appeal that satirizes popular culture while crossing socioeconomic boundaries. You may question pop art's artistic value, but you must admit it's fun and controversial.

Opened in 2019, the outdoor museum is part of the Art in Uncommon Places mission to keep San Angelo weird. The nonprofit arts organization also sponsored a series of murals nearby known as "Paintbrush Alley," and has donated art to local parks.


The Pop Art Museum occupies the space where the Bowling Center opened in 1946. A bolt of lightning (literally) closed it in 1952. The lanes were reopened but fell into disrepair, and eventually the abandoned building became an eyesore.

The hollowed-out brick building with walls shared with the buildings on either side has no doors. Metal horizontal beams define where the roof once was.

More than 30 local artists contributed incredibly creative panels illustrating the deep reservoir of talent in the West Texas town. Among the alfresco museum is an original piece by James Francis Gill, a native of the area who was a contemporary of Warhol.


All of the art panels include a QR code that visitors can use to find out more on their phones about the art and artists.

The Pop Art Museum is at 125 W. Twohig in downtown San Angelo. There is no admission fee, and the exhibit is open all the time. To find out more about Art in Uncommon Places' beautification program, go to artinuncommonplaces.com.


1,583st in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Pop Art Museum, San Angelo, Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Paintbrush Alley, Art in Uncommon Places, James Francis Gill

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