Emily Startz, the owner of The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios, began her art career with painting classes around seven years ago.

“It evolved into having an art studio and trying to sell my art in Houston,” Startz said. “I lived in Houston for 45 years.”

Following the death of her first husband, Startz sold her Houston home and moved into a high-rise, focused on taking art classes and traveling. But after meeting and marrying her second husband, she decided to make the move to The Woodlands.

“I thought long and hard, and I thought, ‘You know, I’m not selling anything in Houston. I might as well not sell anything in The Woodlands,’” Startz said.

Looking for studio space, a realtor showed Startz a space on Nursery Road, which she said was three times bigger than she was looking for.

“The wheels start turning, and that’s when I said, ‘You know, I could open a gallery,’” Startz said. “So it’s kind of a long story, but I decided to open an art gallery. And of course, I needed a place to paint, so I have a studio here.”

Opening its doors in late 2021, The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios showcases art that ranges from $150-$5,000 and features different artists every two months. There is also a space dedicated to The Woodlands Art League, a community-based arts organization. Startz is on the board of directors for the WAL.

“It’s a place where people can come and enjoy art,” she said. “There are not many art galleries in this area, which just blows my mind.”

Inside, Startz furnished the gallery with her personal furniture that she had in storage units.

“It’s like a home, but for art,” Startz said. “As opposed to a gallery that has 20-foot-high ceilings, concrete floors, a cavernous space. ... You can envision the art in your own home easier than if it was just a line of white walls and high spaces.”

The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios also has a section dubbed the Unique Boutique, where everything is under $100.

“What’s different about this is we don’t charge anything for the artists to participate,” Startz said. “On the Unique Boutique, we don’t ask for anything upfront. We ask for a 40% commission. ... And it has to fit in my shopping bag. That’s the criteria for the size.”

Startz said most people who come into the gallery are “so happy that there’s a gallery.”

“I have a lady who comes regularly, and the last time she was here, she brought me flowers, just because she likes my gallery and is just so happy I’m here,” she said. “People are very positive.”

The Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios