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Art & Culture, Parks & Outdoor, Tourist Attractions

Smither Park is a Unique & Fun Folk Art Green Space

Posted: April 12, 2016 at 11:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Butterfly on wall at Smither Park

Butterfly on wall at Smither Park

The Orange Show Foundation sponsors the Smither Park and once you see the Orange Show, you will understand why both are obviously related.

Just like the Beer Can House which is another site in Houston now operated by the Orange Show Foundation, folk art is front and center!

Smither Park was named in honor of John H. Smither.

He along with his wife Stephanie were long time folk art collectors.

Mr. Smither was a lawyer who worked for the firm of Vinson & Elkins.  From what I read he supported the Orange Show as a board member and was also the president of the Houston Ballet. Thus he was a community minded individual who supported the arts.

The Vinson & Elkins Pavilion in Smither Park offers a shaded area where people can gather for various functions.  Dimensions are 50 by 30 feet with a 12 foot ceiling. Sculptural forms were being added to the upright columns and will eventually be decorated just as the wall to the back.

Lindley Fish Amphitheater is certainly an eye catcher!  Designed and decorated by artist Matt Gifford it provides a location for live performances of all types.

John Smither believed that “Where there is art, there is life. Where there is art, there is community.”

This half acre lot is sure to invite the community for picnics, concerts and perhaps be the location for momentous life events such as weddings.

From what I understand the Memory Wall was designed by Dan Phillips who is not only an artist but also a builder.

The 400 foot wall is separated into about 60 segments where different members of the art loving community come to decorate it.  These people are not necessarily trained artists.  In fact a good 50% of them have never previously created art.

Bits of glass, broken china, seashells and other items are all worked into the mosaic designs.

If visiting the Smither Park on a Saturday, you just may see some of the artists working on their section of this serpentine Memory Wall.

At the time that I took these photos enough of the park had been finished to make it a fun experience to visit there.  My hubby and I plan to make another trip over there in about a year to see how it has been changed.

It is definitely a work in progress!

There is a small Marilyn Oshman Meditation Garden built into the Memory wall.

Also built is a Johnson Marble Tower.  People can watch the actions of marbles as they swirl through a maze.

The YouTube video below shows an aerial view of the Orange Show and Smither Park.  It was obviously filmed sometime ago because much more has been added to Smither Park since that time.

It is easy to visit both venues on the same day since they are close together.

We drove from the far west side of Houston to this east side location and would do it again.  The artwork alone makes this a fun park to visit and is quite an attraction!