Back in 2002 when Janet and I started the Outdoor Art in Houston project I did considerable research on the subject. One of the names that kept coming up was The Orange Show, so it went on the list. We never got around to it.
Yesterday evening when I received an email from Michael Curso inviting me to join him on a shoot at The Orange Show I quickly accepted. He said he was not familiar with the place but had seen it mentioned on PBS (I think). Debi decided to join us.
What I envisioned was maybe an acre or two of all sorts of fantastic folk art—sort of a carnival like affair with rides for the kids, cotton candy vendors and a place with entertainment for all.
The Orange Show covers maybe two average size city lots. Parking is on the street. Yes, it is eccentric, it is funky and some of it is orange. In the middle sits a smallish house like structure that serves as the ticket booth. You make one pass around the ticket booth and you have seen The Orange Show. We three and the lady selling tickets had the place to ourselves. There were no rides or cotton candy—there was no room. There is an arena like affair where apparently at one time some sort of entertainment had taken place—there was no mention of entertainment today. Yes there are some raised platforms with staircases so you can look out over the neighborhood, including the pallet company next door and a few funky small things scattered about to look at. Lots of platitudes written in ceramic tiles embedded in the stucco. I seriously doubt there are many repeat customers. I photographed a few things but didn't come up with much worth keeping.
Fortunately two houses down they have built Smither Park to commemorate the builder of The Orange Show who passed away not long ago. There is an art wall that is over a half block long. As Michael understands it the wall is decorated by people in the neighborhood rather than artists. It is very well done. All the photographs I have posted are from the park. Lots to photograph and I will probably be back under different lighting conditions. Today was overcast so there were no problems with shadows but it will also be interesting to photograph in harsh light.
Drove around for a while, found some graffiti that I had previously photographed, hit Nikos Nikos at Old Market Square for cold drinks and called it a day. The Orange Show was disappointing, but in all it was a good day with good company.The Orange Show is off my bucket list after almost twelve years. Maybe I should have gone sooner.