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Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery in Houston: Amazing Portraits!

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Artist Ken Pridgeon pointing at some of his portraits

Artist Ken Pridgeon pointing at some of his portraits

Honoring Those Who Paid the Ultimate Price

At the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery, visitors can see about 100 images of Texans in service to our country. All of them paid the ultimate price in sacrificing their lives for the rest of us who live in freedom. There are hundreds of additional portraits stored in the back room of the gallery. They are often rotated so that visitors to this Houston gallery can learn about these brave men and women.

Ken Pridgeon, Sr. is the artist who continually adds more portraits to the collection. He is an amazing man!

Ken Pridgeon, Sr.

A good friend of ours told us about the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery some time ago. Recently, my husband and I made our first visit to this gallery and got to meet Ken Pridgeon Sr. in person. This gallery is near the Fallen Warriors Memorial, which is in a beautiful park setting just up the street. The names of these same warriors are inscribed onto the outdoor memorial. But seeing them in portraits created by Mr. Pridgeon not only honors their service to our country but brings them alive so-to-speak.

Ken Pridgeon works things into the foreground of the paintings that had meaning to these fallen heroes. We see them as individuals who played the guitar or football as an example. Ken Pridgeon knows each fallen warrior as if they were his sons or daughters, and consequently, each of his paintings tells a story.

Painting Portraits

As you can tell by looking at some of these portraits, Ken Pridgeon Sr. has focused on the eyes of these fallen heroes. This artist credits much of what he does to God. He said several times that his talents and the direction he is taking in memorializing these Texan heroes are due to it being “a God thing.”

He initially painted one portrait and thought that would be the end of it as a favor to a friend. Most importantly, his mission now is to paint every Texan killed in the service to our country. Meanwhile, at 85 years of age, Ken’s purpose in life will require him to continue painting until he draws his last breath. Sadly, our young men and women keep dying in many places around the world in service to our country. He now has many hundreds of paintings at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery, and that number continues to grow.

Many quotes address the eyes. One of the most commonly known ones comes from a traditional proverb, and it says that “The eyes are the window of the soul.” Ken Pridgeon truly captures the eyes of his subjects in his paintings.

The Dauber

Artist Ken Pridgeon Sr. calls himself the "Dauber" and signs some of his paintings that way. In past years, he was a sign painter. That could be a dangerous job as he was high up from the ground when doing that type of work. He also was paid to put paint on the side of barges, which could also be dangerous as they swayed in the seawater.

Finally, with no formal art training and after he was retired, he began painting these types of memorial portraits. As he daubs a bit of paint here and there on large canvases, it is a much safer job for him. It has a tremendous and lasting impact on families of the fallen as well as the community at large.

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The original paintings are now kept at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery. Initially, his work was at a gallery in Baytown. On loan to him by the Cy-Champ Public Utility District's Office is this much larger space.

An 18 by a 24-inch digital copy of each painting is given to the family of these fallen heroes. Ken came to realize that many of these families did not have enough space in their homes or apartments to hang such a large painting. Now everyone can see and learn about these brave men and women who shed their lives in the cause of freedom.

If you get a chance, do stop in and meet Ken. Prepare to be very touched as he takes you around the gallery and relates stories about these individuals you see in canvasses hanging on the walls. He took my husband and me into a back room where stacks of canvasses are stored. In addition to the memorial portraits, he also has other types of art that he has created.

This water district office now turned art gallery has a kitchen, restroom, lounge area, and it is where Ken Pridgeon Sr. continues to paint. The address is 13455 Cutten Road, Houston, Texas 77066. Their hours are Thursday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday from 1 to 4 PM, or by appointment. Call this number to make an appointment: 832-868-9810. Donations are welcomed.

Takeaways

Our visit was a spur of the moment thing. I have been thinking about what Ken has accomplished and what he continues to do ever since.

We found out from him that he learned how to paint hands by watching YouTube videos. There is a painting by Ken that hangs over a desk that represents the Fallen Warriors Memorial. It is titled "Releasing of the Spirits." Since we visited that memorial, a Service Dog Memorial has been added, giving us another reason to go back and revisit it.

Below are a few more photos and some videos. The first two videos are ones shot in the old location of Baytown. The last video is from the current site on Cutten Road in Houston. Do yourself a favor and visit the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery while Ken Pridgeon is still there. I promise that it will be an unforgettable visit for you as it was for us.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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