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Nonprofits & Charities, Tourist Attractions

Curious & Fantastical Orange Show Foundation Folk Art

Posted: April 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Band performance at Orange Show

Band performance at Orange Show

This wild and imaginative folk art creation was built on a vacant lot on the East End of Houston.

A Houston postman by the name of Jeff McKissack worked on this project from 1956 to 1980.  It only stopped at that time due to his death.

Mr. McKissack obviously loved oranges…thus the homage to this round orange citrus fruit.

Judging from the various signs posted around The Orange Foundation, he was also interested in general good health.

Jeff McKissack believed that hard work and good nutrition promotes longevity.  I can surely attest to one thing!  He put a lot of hard work into building this local attraction!

He used all kinds of found objects when creating this site.  Broken bits of china, bricks, wrought iron, pieces of metal, and even old farm tractor seats are just a few examples.

The day my husband and I decided to see what the Orange Show was all about, a band was playing music when we first arrived there.

In reading about the Orange Show, it has become a venue for performance art such as concerts and dance.  It has been hosting such performances for over 30 years now.

There are many sayings worked into the walls as one wanders through the architectural maze.  Some of them are the following:

THANK YOU GLAD YOU CALLED

WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HERE

BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER – Aesop

I LOVE ORANGES

WHOSE HOUSE IS MADE OF GLASS MUST NOT THROW STONES AT ANOTHER- George Herbert 1593 – 1633

After the death of Jeff McKissack, a non-profit foundation was formed by Marilyn Oshman to help preserve the Orange Show.

Numerous people joined her in this effort.  Funding now includes the City of Houston and others like United Airlines and Silver Eagle Distributors.

The Orange Show Foundation and Center for Visionary Art owns this Orange Show Monument.  They also operate the Beer Can House and Smither Park.

The annual Art Car Parade was also inspired by the making of a “Fruitmobile” back in 1984.  The first Art Car Parade was held in 1988 and has now become the largest Art Car Parade in the nation.

We in Houston celebrate such things as art cars and even have an Art Car Museum here!

The Orange Show foundation sponsors summer camps for kids aged 11 to 15.  They teach sculpture, mosaics, photography, ceramics and also the creation of art cars.

At risk kids have been assisted by teaching them how to create murals.  There are many such murals around Houston that now stand in testament to those efforts.  Inspiring creativity in kids can sometimes be a life changer in making them realize their potential in doing something positive.  Besides that, it is fun!

When visiting the Orange Show be prepared to climb up and down different elevations.  There are eye catching mosaics and exhibits large and small just about everywhere one looks.

It is certainly colorful whimsy and Jeff McKissack must have had lots of fun designing this unique art creation.  Is this what some of our postal carriers dream about when preparing and delivering our mail? 

These photos give you some example of what there is to see at the Orange Show but not all.  Be sure and take your camera!

This venue can be rented for special occasions.  It would certainly be far from the ordinary!

You can find this folk art site here:

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