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The Orange Show










From the camper's window

From the camper's window

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Inside Outsider Art in Houston, Texas

January 19, 2012

One of the great reasons to return to Houston is to visit their Visionary Arts Center, The Orange Show. Created by postman, Jeff McKissack; it is a walk-in environment celebrating good nutrition and hard work as a means to longevity. Using recycled and found objects, the multifaceted sculpture turned what was once an empty lot in East Texas into a great piece of folk-art that is recognized by the National Register of Historical Places

Houston Orange Show

Take our quick photographic tour of The Orange Show.

Besides the Orange Show, there are several other notable Houston outsider art spots that are well worth a visit.

Flowerman’s House

Cleveland Turner, the Flowerman, keeps an ever changing display of found objects (mostly toys) all around and on his house. There are lots of bouncy horses along with real and fake flowers and plants... it is the place where old Barbies go, plastic horse legs become planters. and Betsy Wetsy dolls corrode quietly into pink flakes and black goo. We visited on a dark and dreary day and the whole display was quite uplifting. The colors and abstract arrangements are wonderful. I am looking forward to trying some of the color combinations in my own drawings. Visitors are welcome to take anything they want and drop-off items are welcomed.

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Rejoice...the way this crap is arranged it is still very much worth walking through and looking.


Houston: Pigdom

A few years back we were lucky enough to visit Pigdom: A Shrine to Swine. We were saddened to learn that its creator, Victoria Herberta, has since passed away. A lifelong lover of pigs and their intelligence, she created a unique purple environment that was a delight to visit.

Beer Can House

Houston: Beer Can House

If you are a beer drinker, here is a unique way to inexpensively redo the exterior of your house with aluminum  siding. Use crushed beer cans...Not just for siding, but fences, curtains, gates ...I definitely have some friends and relatives who should look into this method of recycling their empties. You know, instead of a tiki bar on the back deck, a bar constructed entirely of crushed beer cans and tabs.

John Milkovisch created this artistic treasure and the Orange Show is renovating and preserving it. John’s wife, Mary, insisted that he built it so he wouldn’t have to mow the grass.

Houston: Beer Can House

Smither Park

Following the aesthetics and philosophy of The Orange Show, Smither Park located next to the Orange Show, is currently under construction. It will be a multi-use, ongoing series of decorated sculptures, tunnels, walls and towers. To give you an idea of what it will consist of, the organization is looking for the following donations: dishes, pottery, china, keys, costume jewelry, marbles, tiles (colored or patterned), buttons, sea shells, interesting metal objects, metal toys, utensils, perfume bottles, brass & copper items, stone, glass bottles in bright colors (no wine or beer bottles), anything not affected by heat, cold, rot or rust. AND OF COURSE, MONEY.

Houston: Smither Park

At the ground breaking for the park, instead of digging, the participants smashed plates and colored glass with their shovels.

Houston: Smither Park

Wall awaiting more broken plates, glass and doorknobs.

Rothko Chapel

Mark Rothki Chapel

Well, not folk art, but definitely my favorite place to visit in Houston. The chapel is non-denominational and on it’s walls are 14 black color-hued paintings by Mark Rothko. (*sob* - Oh, the blacks...) There is a soft darkness to the place that brings me great peace. Last week was my second visit, so even with no photographs allowed, it was as if I was almost 

This is my favorite of your trips so far. We have a great example of outsider art in Riverside that you'll have to visit some day.


Thank you for this post, Peggy and Bernie!! Truly my favorite art form - outsider, visionary, folk, tramp - whatever it's called it is endlessly fascinating and great to see your pics from sites in Houston. You've been to the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, right? My favorite museum ever.


Still having fun eh?  I have been down with a cold a sore throat for the past week but slowly getting better.  Went to the gym today.  Working on old mower that I really like.  Sold my Morgan race car.  Won NCRS Top Flight award with the 69 Corvette that Kent and I restored.  Funny how we do pretty much the same things throughout life.

Keep having fun


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