tommy takes over

Houston's most colorful folk arts organization names acclaimed new leader

Houston's most colorful folk arts organization names new leader

Tommy Ralph Pace Orange Show
Tommy Ralph Pace is the new executive director of the Orange Show for Visionary Art.  Photo by Xavier Lujan

A colorful Houston folk arts organization has a new leader.

After a year-long search, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art has announced that Tommy Ralph Pace is the organization’s new executive director. Pace comes to Houston after having previously served as deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. There, he developed the inaugural strategic vision for Miami’s newest contemporary art museum and led all external affairs and daily operations, according to a press release.

Pace is a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York, and boasts more than a decade of experience in arts administration, programming and development, including overseeing public art projects, educational initiatives, and audience engagement activities, per the Orange Show.

He will officially take the office on January 4, 2021.

“The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art is one of the nation’s leading arts organizations dedicated to visionary and self-taught art, and I am excited to grow the reach and impact of its mission to empower personal artistic expression and create communities where that expression is valued,” said Pace, in a statement.

“During this unprecedented time in our history, and with a deep belief in the restorative power of the arts, I am honored to begin working with the organization’s Board of Trustees, staff, and the greater Houston community to plan the expansion of its cultural programming and physical spaces, as well as execute a new strategic vision.”

As Houstonians know, the 39-year-old arts organization oversees the restoration, preservation, and management of The Orange Show and The Beer Can House. The nonprofit also created Houston’s first art-inspired green space, Smither Park. Most would no doubt recognize the Orange Show for its world-famous Houston Art Car Parade.

“We welcome Tommy to Houston and have no doubt his extensive knowledge of fundraising, audience engagement strategies and curatorial expertise bring the organization into a new chapter as we approach our 40th anniversary,” said Orange Show Center for Visionary Art founder Marilyn Oshman, in a statement.