Amazing Tours at Assets 2023 Conference in Beautiful Houston Texas

Amazing Tours at Assets 2023 Conference in Beautiful Houston Texas

Wednesday, December 21, 2022 in Conference

In Houston, you can find great cultural destinations and engaging arts events happening all over the city.  Join us on one of the three specialty tours scheduled on Friday, March 17th.  (Space is limited so submit your conference registration early!) 

Fine Art Tour

The Fine Art tour will visit three of Houston’s most prestigious fine arts institutions, which includes an exclusive opportunity at a private fine arts institution. The first stop is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's (MFAH) newest wing the Nancy and Rich Kinder building designed by Steven Holl. The group will be greeted by Alison de Lima Greene, the MFAH’s Isabel Brown Wilson curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and then guided by Mari Carmen Ramirez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art. Ramirez and her staff will guide the group through the Latin American Galleries of the collection which includes works by early-20th-century masters from Latin America, such as Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Maria Martins, Roberto Matta, Armando Reverón, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Xul Solar, and Joaquín Torres-García.

After the tour, the Fine Art Group will have the opportunity to self-guide through the MFAH galleries and the gift shop, before joining the Gems and Jewelry and AFDA tour groups for a seated lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s premier restaurant, Le Jardinier, hosted by Treasures Estate Concierge Services.

The Fine Art group will then venture to the Menil Collection. The group will be greeted by a Menil curator with an introduction to Menil’s history and architecture. The group will have full access to view all of the locations on campus, the Main building, the Menil Drawing Institute, Richmond Hall featuring Dan Flavin installations, the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Menil Collection Bookstore. The exhibition available will be the Menil Collection, Walter De Maria: Boxes for Meaningless Work. Works also on view are by: Ellsworth Kelly, Max Neuhaus, Michael Heizer, and Mark di Suvero.

The final stop for the Fine Art Tour will be an exclusive visit to the Leslie and Brad Bucher Collection at their Mandell ArtSpace. Designed as a private retreat and housing a major collection of contemporary and Latin American art, this converted plumbing supply warehouse is tucked away in Houston’s eclectic Montrose neighborhood. The Buchers are strong supporters of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and in addition to an outstanding selection of modern and contemporary Latin American Art, they have added a special balcony room focused on the works of alumni of the Museum’s Glassell Core Program. The collection tends towards minimalism and most pieces reflect a strong geometric component, including works by Kelly, Judd, de Kooning, Nevelson, and Eliasson and a strong Latin American emphasis with works by Soto, Cruz-Diez, Oticica, Kuitca, Crespin, Saraceno and Neto. Site specific installations by James Turrell, Soo Sunny Park and Henrique Oliviera round out the collection.

By: Anne Kelly Lewis, ISA AM

AF+DA Tour

The Antiques, Furniture & Decorative Art (AFDA) tour will include three of Houston’s most prestigious museums and art centers - The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Museum of Fine Art Houston, and the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens.

The first stop is at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC,  Tours will be led by their curator, an ISA appraiser, Cydney Elaine Pickens, and their executive director Perry Price. 

HCCC Tours will include:

  1. Survey of Kiln Glass, a large exhibition featuring art glass created by artists associated with Bullseye Glass, Portland, Oregon (  For almost forty years, Bullseye Glass has collaborated with artists worldwide in promoting and developing methods for contemporary kiln-glass. Including strategic contributions to kilnforming, kilncasting, flameworking, and coldworking methods.
  2. One Man Show - Matt Manolo (, Houston multimedia artist from the Philippines. Manolo incorporates raw materials and found objects and tackles ideas surrounding his immigrant identity, displacement, and how “home” is defined.
  3. Meet Four Craft Artists, tour their studios, and see their work. Annually, four artists are selected to have studio space at HCCC, each of different disciplines in craft media, including clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and mixed media.

The second stop is the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH, We will have a docent tour and free time to explore the decorative art, craft & design collections.  Their collection focuses on objects post-1900, but the collection ranges between the 17th to the 21st century.  Art movements in their collection include 19th-century Revivalist, Aesthetic, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the Bauhaus, Scandinavian Modern, Studio Craft, Postmodernism, and Ultra-Contemporary. The collection is particularly known for late-19th-century American works by the Herter Brothers and Louis Comfort Tiffany, as well as objects designed by architects.

Third Stop and our finale – Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens, a fourteen-acre estate of the late Ima Hogg, a Houstonian, philanthropist, and renowned Americana Collector (  Hogg kindly bequeathed her estate and collection to the MFAH.  The house museum exhibits early American decorative arts and paintings, with more than 2,500 objects on display in 28-room settings and galleries. We will start at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitors center, followed by docent-led tours.  The American collection dates between 1620 and 1876 and will include furniture, paintings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, glass, metals, and textiles.

By:  Barbara Blades-Lines, ISA CAPP, B.F.A.

Gems & Jewelry Tour

The Gems and Jewelry tour is a FIRST with its own option on the tour list. We share a bus with the AFDA group however; we have our own premier set of tours carefully curated by ISA gem and jewelry members specifically for G&J members.  The tours start at the nationally acclaimed Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) housing two important permanent gem and mineral exhibits and the Dreher Masterworks, Collection of Carved Gems. Beginning with the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, we’ll view a huge amethyst weighing more than 850 lbs., to a crystallized gold cluster that is one of the most highly coveted objects in the mineral kingdom, the spectacular specimens on display here are true masterpieces — the Rembrandts and Picassos of the natural world.

Discover more than 450 beautifully crystallized mineral specimens, including some of the world’s most rare and beautiful examples. Examine these dazzling treasures in detail from all angles through walk-around display cases illuminated by fiber optic lighting to provide optimum viewing.

Next we walk a few steps to the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault completing the story begun by the world-renowned Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals.

The Museum acquired mineral “cutting rough” of precious gemstones freshly extracted from mines around the world for the showcase pieces on display. This ensured the very best natural stones were cut to our curators’ into faceted gems of exact specifications, then crafted into original works under the skilled hands of jewelry designers, including Ernesto Moreira.

One of the more recent additions include the Siren of Serendip one of the world’s largest blue sapphires. This magnificent and unparalleled gemstone is on display in the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault. Considered one of the top five sapphires in the world, Siren of Serendip weighs a phenomenal 422.66 carats and was discovered almost a century ago on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). When found, the original rough crystal weighed 2,670 carats before it was cut and polished.

Siren of Serendip is set in a necklace designed and created by Ingo Henn of London and Idar-Oberstein, Germany in 2019. It includes 913 diamonds (totaling 36.30 carats) set in platinum and white gold.

The Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault is made possible through the generous support of The Smith Foundation.

After the delights of the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault, the group moves to the first floor for the Dreher Masterworks which showcases the most highly sought after masterpieces of the gem carver’s art. ?Created by four generations of masters from the Dreher family in Idar-Oberstein, Germany these exquisite pieces are brought to life using ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, topaz and other rare gemstones. We learn the connection between the Drehers and the house of Faberge.

This “MUST SEE” limited engagement is truly an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–an exhibition of the highest possible quality–exclusively at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Upon finishing the HMNS tours, the Gems and Jewelry Group will walk a few blocks (bus if inclement weather) to join the Fine Arts and AFDA tour groups for a seated lunch at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s (MFAH) premier restaurant, Le Jardinier, hosted by Treasures Estate Concierge Services.

After lunch Christine Gervais, the Fredricka Crain Director of Rienzi coordinated two tours, both will be led by the well-known MFAH docent Anne Breaux. Anne Breaux will greet the Gems & Jewelry group and lead them through the main campus of MFAH of collections of Unusual Materials utilized in making Historical to Contemporary jewelry. Then Anne will take G&J through to the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building designed by Steven Holl to tour the Helen Drutt collection of Contemporary Craft jewelry.

The group then joins the AFDA bus to go to Rienzi, one of two spectacular house museums owned by the MFAH. The highlight of this tour is a private tour by the Assistant Curator of Rienzi Misty Flores who will greet the Gems and Jewelry participants and show them a collection of the MFAH’s jewelry that are stored in the Rienzi vault.

After gorging the group on a day of fantastic gems and jewelry, weather permitting, we will walk through the connected famous Bayou Bend gardens ablaze with blooming azaleas to join the AFDA bus and return to the hotel.

By:  Amy Lawch ISA AM, GG AGA JVA


  1. Fine Art
  2. AFDA
  3. Gems and Jewelry
  4. Tours

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