From Frank Stella to Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein to Dorothy Hood, John Biggers to James Surls, the University of Houston has collected art from some of the greatest contemporary artist and put it on display for the whole of Houston to see for the past 50 years.
For a this special anniversary year, UH celebrates this half century of collecting nearly 700 works of art with a series of events, programs and tours to help the city get new views and insights into a collection they call “exclusively for everyone.”
But what’s a year long celebration without at least one full-blown art party? Such was the art spirit of the night as 300 artists, supporters and patrons came together at University of Houston’s Wilhelmina’s Grove for a Supper Under the Stars for the 50th Anniversary of Public Art UHS.
With the evening’s proceeds benefitting the newly Temporary Public Art Program and related educational programs for audiences of all ages, guests had every reason to enjoy a perfect night under the stars and sometimes literarily under the stellar art. Chairs Beth Madison, Judy Nyquist, and Beth Robertson announced some of the latest news for the program and were thrilled with the support for this first-ever event, which raised more than $325,000.
Michael Guidry, curator of the Collection paused in the celebration to remember Michael Galbreth one half of Houston’s Art Guys and acknowledge what a terrible loss his passing brings to the city’s art community. Then, in a reaffirmation of the enduring power of art, the evening’s honoree, artist Trenton Doyle Hancock (a.k.a Torpedo Boy), gave a moving account of what the University collection has meant to the city and his own life as an artist.
As the Collection spans the entire University of Houston System, including University of Houston and its Sugar Land location, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria guests couldn’t possibly view the entirety of UH’s public art that evening but they did get a special view of some of the works in the Moore’s Opera House, Wilhelmina’s Grove and Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre.
Visual and performance art met several times during the night with a performance from the UH Steel Drum Band, The PANtagonists, the Tomatz String Quartet performance under Alyson Shotz’s installation A Moment in Time inside the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre Lobby, and a new dance piece from UH Dance Ensemble in and around Marta Chilindrón outdoor installation Mobius Houston.
Seen partying amid the art were Lillie Robertson, Gail Adler, Lois Stark, John Abodeely, Joe Cleary, Nancy Hixon, Suresh Khator, Floyd Newsum, Margo Sawyer, Randy Twaddle, Lea Weingarten, Clint Wilhour, Jo and Jim Furr, Liz and David Anders, Carroll and Hugh Ray, Isabel David, Kathryn Ketelsen, George Lancaster, Ashley and Clark Beecher, Brad Bucher, Bill Nicholson, Bridget and Patrick Wade, Marvin and Mariloli Odum, Meredith and Patrick Chastang, Geraldina Wise, and Cullen Geiselman.