One of Houston’s most beloved arts organizations — founded by a local mail carrier four decades ago — has announced a colorful and vibrant expansion of its headquarters.
The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art (OSCVA), known by many locally as the organizer of the popular Art Car Parade and the force behind major art events, the Beer Can House, and more, will expand its services to become a major artistic and cultural destination, the nonprofit announced.
The new property (2402 Munger St.) sits adjacent to the iconic The Orange Show Monument and Smither Park. Specifically, the 8-acre expansion will transform the campus into an arena of individual creation and community collaboration, per a press release. The campus integrates into Houston’s Fonde Park, adding an additional 9 acres of greenspace and bringing the Orange Show visitor experience to 17 total acres.
Park enhancements include a 70-foot-tall sculpture by Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, a legendary Texas artist who traverses contemporary, folk, and self-taught art.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit’s industrial palette warehouse will transform into a world-class, flexible performance and exhibition space allowing for exhibitions, programs, and offices as well as a comprehensive visionary art library and archive, and spaces for education and events.
A focal point for the new facility is an 800-foot-long ramp that will run through the entire campus, offering access to buildings and art cars and a destination for a promenade for visitors. Acting as a central spine, the ramp creates a link to an open workshop powered by solar energy.
Design work comes courtesy of the architectural firm Rogers Partners, after a year-long campus planning process, including a national design competition supported by Houston Endowment.
OSCVA obtained its 5.7-acre property with a 31,000 square foot, 1950s-era, solid concrete building in 2017. The major expansion was teased during the organization’s wildly colorful and dazzling Orange Show Gala in October.
Founded by Houston postman Jeff McKissack 40 years, ago the Orange Show has hosted some of Houston’s most eclectic and memorable cultural performances. Notable past performances have included Daniel Johnston, Dirty Projectors, Devendra Banhart, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Joanna Newsom.
“We preserve and promote three of our city’s largest cultural monuments, and have helped put Houston on the map as one of the world’s most important creative cities,” said Orange Show executive director Tommy Lee Pace in a statement. “With this expansion, we’ll be able to bring the community together in an entirely new way. We want to encourage visitors not only to see the art, but to participate, make, and engage with it; this experiential environment differentiates the Orange Show from other museums or gallery spaces.”