Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Find your creative side in Smither Park

If you want to add a little whimsy to your life, take a trip to Smither Park. What makes it so special? Highly complicated mosaic walls, a grotto in the form of fish jaws, comfy bench swings, an interactive tower, and a covered "tree-house"pavilion.  Located in Houston's East End, the recreational green space is ever evolving with over 60 mosaics made by artists (both trained and untrained) from across the US and plans for new additions always in the works. Visionary artist and builder Dan Phillips is lead designer on the project. Under the umbrella of the Orange Show Center for the Visionary Art, Smither Park is Houston's first "folk art inspired green space" and is also Houston's first sculpture garden made from all recycled materials. The Park is named in honor of the incredible arts supporter John H. Smither.  You can read more about Smither Park here.  
If you're interested in contributing to the mosaics in the Park, read more about the call for entry section here.

"The  Memory Wall" is a 400 foot mosaic wall that spans the length of the park; On the right is "The Tree of Life" created by Houston artist Debbie Wetmore.


Creatives hard at work putting the finishing touches on the Marilyn Oshman Meditation Garden. Such a beautiful place to take a break from our busy lives.
Mosaic Artists use a vast array of materials from ceramic and pottery shards, to keys, glass, and license plates.

A section of the Memory Wall designed by John Gregory


The Bench Swings: Looks like the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon

The Lindley Fish created by Matt Gifford resembles a fish mouth chomping through the grass; made from frame samples, street signs, and mirror shards, the grotto is used for performances throughout the year.

The hypnotic insides of the grotto

A detail from a Mosaic "The Garden" designed by Esther Lee and completed with help from her family



While you're in the neighborhood, stop by the Orange Show just two blocks down. A playful architectural maze, the Orange Show was created by former postman Jeff McKissack "in honor of his favorite fruit." He worked on the Orange Show between 1956 until his death in 1980 - never fully accepting the title of "artist." You can read more about the Orange Show here.


Entrance to THE ORANGE SHOW


A view from one of the many upper balconies

A play boat rests in the middle of the maze
Beautiful Quotes and Proverbs (such as the one above) cover many of the Orange Show's walls

 Thank you, Texas. You are always full of surprises.

Until the next adventure,

- The Bayou Botanist

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