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Visiting the Orange Show Foundation: Fantastic Folk Art in Houston

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

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.

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 to 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

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2020:

Hi Denise,

It won't be long before Houston becomes the 3rd largest city at the rate we are growing. To answer your question, today we had temperatures in the mid-70s with feel-like temps in the 80s. We also had some good rain, and cooler temps are on the way.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 27, 2020:

Well, I didn't realize that Houston was the 4th largest city in the US. I learned something new. There certainly does seem to be lots to do and see there. How's the weather?

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2020:

Hi Devika,

We have so many places of interest in this 4th largest city in our nation. You would never run out of things to do and see here. I am happy that you enjoy learning about Houston, and appreciate your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 27, 2020:

Peggy I like that you share about Houston. It makes me know more about the place and increases my interest to visit there. Informative and educational.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Linda,

Thanks for catching this article in the feed. Hopefully, soon the comments will be enabled to make it easier for us. The Orange Show Foundation is a fun place to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Denise,

I am happy to be able to show you this site via the Internet. Sending good wishes your way today.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2020:

Hi, Peggy. I'm glad I discovered your article in my feed so I could comment on it. The attraction that you've described looks very interesting. This is another site in Texas that I'd love to visit.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 18, 2020:

What a fun place to visit. I love visiting places like this.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Liz,

Yes, with all of the stairs, etc., people who need wheelchairs or walkers would have a difficult time getting around this folk art setting. I am glad you liked learning about it. Take care!

Liz Westwood from UK on November 18, 2020:

This looks like an amazing folk art setting. You have done it justice with your great photos and interesting review. It was a good idea to include a note about accessibility.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Liza,

It is always fun to show off the many attractions that Houston has to offer its residents plus visitors to our city. I am glad you liked learning about the Orange Show Foundation.

Liza from USA on November 18, 2020:

The art is unusual and very interesting, Peggy. If I live there, I would go and check it out for sure. Thanks for sharing some best of attraction places in your city, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Diana Carol,

Folk art may not be to everyone's taste, but during times like this, it can give us some relief from the seriousness of life. Wishing you good health and safety from afar.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Ann,

Yes, this folk art place surely is a tactile experience and is made for lots of exploration. At least you get some idea of what the Orange Show Foundation is like from my photos and the videos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2020:

Hi Vanita,

I am glad you enjoyed the videos. They added more photos and information to this post. Thanks for taking the time.

Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on November 18, 2020:

There is a need for some folk art and relaxing atmosphere, in this difficult time we are experiencing.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 18, 2020:

Such imagination here! I love the fact that you can wander up and down and therefore it's tactile. Definitely a place for a camera and your photos give us a great feel for what it's like.

Ann

Vanita Thakkar on November 18, 2020:

Very interesting and informative article. Loved reading it and going through the videos.

Voted.

Thanks for sharing, dear Peggy.

Best regards.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Yes, it is great that they offer summer camps in this whimsical folk art location. Thanks for your comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 17, 2020:

Whimsical and looks to be a fun time. I can only imagine what a visit entails. It’s nice that there is an educational outreach piece to spread the love of this type of folk art through a summer camp.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi John,

Yes, "Go Orange!" is the name of the game here. Ha!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 17, 2020:

What an original and fun place. I love the randomness of things like this. Go Orange!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi Heidi,

We have lived in Houston now for most of our lives and keep discovering places like this. I had heard of it several years ago but had never visited it. It is the type of place that must be seen to believe. Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi Bill,

So glad you like the look of this folk art in Houston. You can comment because I recently published it. Soon it will be whisked off to Discover, and then people can only comment if they see it in the feed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

I believe that this was all of Jess McKissack's work. It must have taken him a long time to assemble this wonder of folk art.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 17, 2020:

This looks like such a fun place that probably wouldn't be on most travel guides! Thanks for sharing, as always!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 17, 2020:

Such a colorful, imaginative thing to do. I love art like that. On a side note, I'm slightly amazed I'm able to comment on this. I will never understand HP as long as I live.

Be well my friend!

manatita44 from london on November 17, 2020:

A colourfull and lighter piece from you. Reminded me of Gaudi, except that Gaudi's is still unfinished. Great that other art lovers and designers took up his work and finished it. Looks charming for kids.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 17, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

This folk art place was amazing to see. There are so many nooks and crannies filled to the brim with unusual items. It is easy to understand that the Orange Show Foundation now also operates the Beer Can House. Both places celebrate folk art.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 17, 2020:

The art is so unique and very colorful. I can see why anyone would probably enjoy this show. It is great that they work with students also. This is an interesting article, Peggy.