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New Kind of Green Space

A new kind of green space: Houston's first visionary art park features fish-shaped grotto and memory wall

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Smither Park April 2014
Smither Park's 400-foot memory wall, crafted from recycled and repurposed materials, is still under construction. Courtesy of Smither Park/Facebook

The Orange Show — Houston's folk art mecca located in the ever-changing Third Ward — is developing a new, sustainable green space called Smither Park, located right next to the existing property. The new park, which is under construction, will be surrounded by a 400-foot, hand-constructed "memory wall," exclusively crafted using recycled and repurposed materials such as old trophies, vases and silverware  collected from members of the community.

The sustainable green space, which is the focus of a recent KHOU CultureMap Moment, will also feature a meditation garden, swings and a grotto/amphitheater and hopes to draw visitors from across the globe.

"It really represents where we are," says CultureMap's arts specialist Joel Luks. "(Houstonians are) resilient people, we have the ability to reinvent ourselves, we're quirky, we're fun, and we embrace that."

Another focal point is the Smither Park grotto, designed by Nashville-based artist, metalsmith and woodworker Matt Gifford, also under construction. The enormous fish-shaped amphitheater is crafted from reclaimed materials like street signs, picture frames and broken mirrors, and Gifford even used old satellite dishes as the whimsical structure's eyes.

Although the art park isn't completed quite yet, you're still able to visit the work-in-progress every Saturday and watch the artists craft the incredible structures. 

See the KHOU CultureMap Moment:

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