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Visiting the Orange Show Foundation: Fantastic Folk Art in Houston

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

Photo taken at the Orange Show Foundation in Houston, Texas

Photo taken at the Orange Show Foundation in Houston, Texas

Orange Show Foundation

This wild and imaginative folk art creation exists on what used to be a vacant lot on the east end of Houston. A Houston postman by the name of Jeff McKissack worked on this project from 1956 to 1980. It only stopped at that time due to his death.

Mr. McKissack loved oranges, thus the homage to this round orange citrus fruit. Judging from the various signs posted around The Orange Foundation, he was also interested in generally good health.

Jeff McKissack believed that hard work and proper nutrition promotes longevity. I can surely attest to one thing. He put a lot of hard work into building this local folk art attraction!

He used all kinds of found objects when creating this most unusual and curious site. Broken bits of china, bricks, wrought iron, pieces of metal, and even old farm tractor seats are just a few examples.

Performance Venue

This site has become a venue for performance art such as concerts and dance. It has been hosting such performances for over 30 years now.

The day my husband and I decided to see what the Orange Show was all about, a band was playing music when we first arrived there. So we had a backdrop of music while we were climbing up and down through this unusual attraction.

Around every twist and turn, the objects making up this site are eye-catching! The construction of this place made use of numerous quirky items. Seemingly out of place embellishments became part and parcel of what this site is all about.

Words of Wisdom

There are many sayings worked into the walls as one wanders through the architectural maze. Some of them, in capital letters, are the following:

"THANK YOU GLAD YOU CALLED
WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE HERE
BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER – Aesop
I LOVE ORANGES
WHOSE HOUSE IS MADE OF GLASS MUST NOT THROW STONES AT ANOTHER - George Herbert 1593–1633"

Jeff McKissack must have had lots of fun designing this unique artistic creation filled to the brim with colorful whimsy. Is this what some of our postal carriers dream about when preparing and delivering our mail?

Confucious advice on a pillar

Confucious advice on a pillar

Nonprofit Organization

After the death of Jeff McKissack, Marilyn Oshman formed a nonprofit foundation to help preserve this site. Numerous people joined her in this effort. Funding now includes the City of Houston and others like United Airlines and Silver Eagle Distributors.

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The Orange Show Foundation and Center for Visionary Art own this folk art monument. They also operate the Beer Can House and Smither Park.

Summer Camps

The Orange Show Foundation sponsors summer camps for kids aged 11–15. They teach sculpture, mosaics, photography, ceramics, and also the creation of art cars.

Teaching kids who are at risk to create murals can often assist them in many ways. Many such murals around Houston now stand in testament to those efforts. Inspiring creativity in kids can sometimes be a life-changer in making them realize their potential in doing something positive. Besides that, it is fun!

Different elevations at this folk art site

Different elevations at this folk art site

Be Prepared

When visiting the Orange Show, be prepared to climb up and down different elevations. There are eye-catching mosaics and exhibits large and small, just about everywhere one looks. This site would not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for safety!

The top of a pillar in a yard across from the Orange Show Foundation has the following cutout design: Houston Art Car Capital of the World.

The top of a pillar in a yard across from the Orange Show Foundation has the following cutout design: Houston Art Car Capital of the World.

Location

These photos give you some examples of what there is to see at the Orange Show Foundation but not all. Be sure to take your camera!

This venue is available to rent for special occasions. It would be a memorable occasion to remember always if held here! You can find this folk art site here: 2402 Munger Street, Houston, Texas 77023.

In the first video below, you can meet Jeff McKissack, the creator of this site. See even more in the second video.

Folk art is gumbo soup for the soul.

— Khang Kijarro Nguyen

Sources

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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