Contemporary art museum in the works for Downtown Katy

Local art enthusiast Ana Roman has big plans for one of Downtown Katy's older buildings for which she recently signed a lease. As the brain behind Katy Culture and Arts Alliance, Roman hopes to transform what used to be Katy's lumber yard into the Katy Contemporary Arts Museum and Texas Gun Museum—attractions she hopes will inspire Katy residents and draw tourists from around the state.

"What I am trying to create, besides rejuvenating the [Downtown Katy] area, is a museum district to connect with the depot and other museums," Roman said. "We will have created something fantastic—a museum district people from all over will want to see."

The museum will be located at 805 Ave. B. Roman said initial plans for this year include renovating the white-bricked structure and opening the contemporary arts museum by December. In 2014, she hopes to purchase the remainder of the structure, which currently houses furniture store Casa Mendiola, and open the Texas Gun Museum to showcase the creative side of firearms.

To make her entire vision come to life, which also includes a museum shop that will also feature Katy memorabilia, Roman hopes to receive financial aid from the city in the form of Hotel Occupancy Tax funds. She will present to council by early June. The entire project will run about $4 million.

"I could see people coming in town to see [the museum] and get them walking around old town Katy," said Doyle Callender, former City of Katy mayor and current chairman of the city's parks department. "Really, anything that brings people to the city is a good thing."

Callender, whose last term as mayor ended six years ago, now works in Downtown Katy with Amegy Bank and said a contemporary arts museum would be a colorful addition to the area that he believes would successfully boost tourism.

The contemporary art museum will feature about four exhibitions a year, Roman said, as well as a gallery with art for purchase. Roman's current exhibitions are housed in Babaloo International Cafe and Bar, and she will continue with the same method of choosing exhibitions for the art museum.

"I try to do as many local artists as possible, specifically people who live in Katy but are from other countries," she said.

Interior renovations of the building will include a kitchen for outside catering to accommodate for events.

The gun museum will feature various exhibitions throughout the year highlighting the design of guns, such as famous engravers, knife designers and specialty gun makers. It will also feature trophy animals, Roman said, and she hopes to highlight animals from local residents.

Architecture firm Perkins and Will designed the exterior and interior look for both museums, but Roman said she does not want to make drastic alterations to the exterior to preserve its historical look.



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