July 25th, 2011

Postcards From Houston: First Class Schooled

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.” – Hodding Carter

When on my way to the first Postcards from Houston lecture, I only had a loose interpretation of its vision. The moment I walked into the classroom at Texas Art Supply on Montrose, I had certain expectations. I was hoping to discover explanations, inspirations and some of the history behind the architecture and art of our beloved anomalous city.

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According to my new teachers, Houston is not defined merely by its visual aesthetics. Yes, it’s architecture—the Gulf Building and the Rice Hotel. It’s both street art and fine artAck! and David Adickes. It’s full scale installations—The Orange Show and “The Truthful God.” But it’s also the rationale behind Houston’s layout—the reason for Downtown’s diamond shape. It’s Houston’s history—the Allen Brothers placing ads all the way up the East Coast and Europe for “a booming shipping industry,” when Houston was little more than a creek with a few boats. It’s unique personalities—the ever-happy Flower Man with his yard of “junk.” It’s soulful music being played for bus fare by Lightnin’ Hopkins. These intangible things are just as much responsible for Houston’s identity.

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My loose idea of the scope of Postcards from Houston was partially correct. The breadth of the art exercise goes far beyond my knowledge base. I figured I knew more about those hidden things that have helped forge Houston’s image. I’ve got a lot to learn and thankfully Leigh Hajovsky and Kathryn Klauber have prepared a syllabus to send me down an educational avenue.

The local movement gains more and more steam every day. In Houston we’ve seen it take on many facets. People are taking notice of the positive things this city has accumulated over the one hundred and seventy five years since the Allen Brothers purchased 6,000 acres from Mrs. Parrott. Postcards from Houston is another spoke on the wheel of local love. It’s a farmer’s market for the right side of your brain.

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All of the of the things mentioned above Hajovsky and Klauber examine, so that at the end of this series we might create our own postcards from Houston. Each piece to be different in style. Each piece to feature what we find in Houston. Each piece to be displayed in a gallery at The Orange Show with reproductions for sale and available to the public, after which all of the proceeds will benefit The Orange Show.

This next class takes us away from the class room and out to the city’s different sites as we’ll be touring by foot. I’ll let you know what I find.

— Richard

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