LHUCA marks 25 years of celebrating the arts, revitalizing downtown Lubbock

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 8:32 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:21 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is turning 25 years old. It began as the Lubbock Regional Arts Center and became an important catalyst for establishing an arts and entertainment district in the downtown area of Lubbock.

“We began as a part of a revitalization for downtown,” Executive Director Lindsey Maestri said. “It was really to sort of anchor the arts in downtown and get that creative energy going in downtown Lubbock.”

The City of Lubbock felt the Center was so important to that mission that it deeded a building at Avenue K and Mac Davis Lane to the LRAC in 1997. It had served the fire department as an administration building. In 2004 the Center was renamed for its co-founder, Louise Hopkins Underwood.

“Since then, we have been fortunate enough to be surrounded on three sides by Charles Adams Studio Project,” Maestri said. “Now across the street, we have Ballet Lubbock and Buddy Holly Hall. The Symphony is also across the street. It’s really flushed out and we have so much square footage dedicated to the arts in downtown Lubbock.”

Maestri believes the arts have successfully brought people to what has become the Lubbock Cultural District. LHUCA operates more than the gallery space in its main building but also the Firehouse Theatre, Clay Studio, Christine DeVitt Icehouse, and the Graffiti Education Building.

“I think you’ll see in city after city, the arts are a great way to get people out and to see old buildings that they didn’t see potential in before,” Maestri said. “Artists always bring that creative nature to things and it just gets people excited about being in a place.”

For most of those 25 years, LHUCA has hosted the First Friday Art Trail, an opportunity for folks to gather in the District to visit galleries and enjoy activities and entertainment.

“When we first started First Friday Art Trail, it was to encourage people to come to downtown Lubbock, because at the time, 16 plus years ago, people were kind of apprehensive about coming downtown,” Maestri said. “There wasn’t a lot going on so it was a way to highlight the galleries that were in downtown and do something all on the same night. The first First Friday Art Trail had 13 people and a dog. It’s grown quite a bit. Now we see 5,000 plus people every first Friday.”

LHUCA invites the community to visit the First Friday Art Trail, which is from 6 to 9 p.m. the first Friday of each month, and its other special events and programs.

“There are lots of ways you can help us celebrate our 25 years,” Maestri said. “We have different events that will be coming up throughout the year that you can engage in, that focus on all the different arts of LHUCA. We have new exhibitions that change out every first Friday or every couple months, but we also have theater programs. We have dance and we have concerts. We have kids camps. We have a lot going on. Our galleries are our daily program but there’s so much more that you can engage with LHUCA.”

To learn more about LHUCA, click here.