The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art recently announced plans for a major expansion to its campus, which will lead to more exhibition space, additional facilities, and increased programs to serve the public – and to engage community art-making.
What began as a monument in honor of a favorite fruit – from 1956 to 1980 Houston postman Jeff McKissack used common materials and found objects “to transform an East End lot into an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures” – became the Orange Show Center in 1982.
The Center restored and preserved the monument, then later acquired the Beer Can House and developed Smither Park, a mosaic art-adorned green space. Since 1988, it has also produced Houston’s annual Art Car Parade.
Earning its reputation over the decades as a hub for folk art activity in Houston, the Orange Show has also been nationally recognized a “temple for outsider art,” most recently by GQ Magazine.
The newly expanded campus – to be completed over the next five years – will aim to bring more attention to its major role in supporting self-taught art, and to widen its reach within the community and beyond.
“We want to encourage visitors not only to see the art, but to participate, make, and engage with it. This experiential environment differentiates the Orange Show from other museums or gallery spaces,” said Tommy Lee Pace, Orange Show executive director, in a statement.
Here’s what to expect from the expansion:
- The new campus will use a 5.7 acre property acquired by the Orange Show Center in 2017.
- It includes a 31,000-square foot warehouse building, which will be converted into a performance and exhibition space – with potential use for offices, programs, education, events, and an art library.
- A new 800-foot ramp will be built throughout the entire campus, serving as an extended display area for art cars and a promenade for visitors.
- The newly expanded space will be adjacent to the current Orange Show Monument, which is located at 2401 Munger Street.
- Inclusive of the current site, the total expansion will create an 8-acre campus that will seque into the nearby Fonde Park.
- A 70-foot sculpture by late Texas artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade will be added to Fonde Park.
- Smither Park will “nearly double in size thanks to a new ‘Mosaic Alley’ … [and] the public will be encouraged to contribute to the ongoing mosaic project,” according to reporting by Glasstire.
- The projected timeline is a 2026 public opening.
- Rogers Partners, a New York-based architectural firm with offices in Houston, will lead the design project.
Read more here:
Houston’s Orange Show Announces Major Expansion (via Glasstire)
Houston’s beloved Orange Show reveals vivid expansion of vibrant headquarters (via CultureMap Houston)
Houston’s Orange Show Center announces expansion to 8 acres of vibrant art cars, creative displays (via Houston Chronicle)