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Smither Park: Fun Folk Art Green Space 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.

Inside of the Lindley Fish Amphitheater  in Smither Park, Houston, Texas

Inside of the Lindley Fish Amphitheater in Smither Park, Houston, Texas

The Orange Show Foundation

The Orange Show Foundation sponsors Smither Park, and once you see the Orange Show, you will understand why both are related. Just like the Beer Can House which is another site in Houston now operated by the Orange Show Foundation, folk art is front and center!

Art teaches us to see into things. Folk art and kitsch allow us to see outward from within things.

— Walter Benjamin

Butterfly on the wall at Smither Park

Butterfly on the wall at Smither Park

John H. Smither

This folk art park bears the honorary name of John H. Smither. He along with his wife Stephanie were longtime folk art collectors.

Mr. Smither was a lawyer who worked for the firm of Vinson & Elkins. From what I read he supported the Orange Show as a board member and was also the president of the Houston Ballet. Thus he was a community-minded individual who helped the arts.

Vinson & Elkins Pavilion

The Vinson & Elkins Pavilion in Smither Park offers a shaded area where people can gather for various functions. Dimensions are 50 by 30 feet with a 12-foot ceiling. Sculptural forms were being added to the upright columns and will eventually be decorated just as the wall to the back.

Lindley Fish Amphitheater

The Lindley Fish Amphitheater is indeed an eye-catcher! Designed and decorated by artist Matt Gifford it provides a location for live performances of all types.

John Smither believed that "Where there is art, there is life. Where there is art, there is a community."

This half-acre lot is sure to invite the community for picnics, concerts and perhaps be the location for momentous life events such as weddings.

Memory Wall

From what I understand the Memory Wall was designed by Dan Phillips who is not only an artist but also a builder.

There is a 400-foot wall sectioned into about 60 segments where different members of the art-loving community come to decorate it. A good 50% of the people participating have never previously created art.

Bits of glass, broken china, seashells and other items are all worked into the mosaic designs. If visiting Smither Park Houston on a Saturday, you may see some of the artists working on their section of this serpentine Memory Wall.

At the time that I took these photos enough of the park had been finished to make it a fun experience to visit there. My hubby and I plan to make another trip over there in about a year to see how it appears. It is a work in progress!

Meditation Garden and Marble Tower

There is a small Marilyn Oshman Meditation Garden built into the Memory wall. Also built is a Johnson Marble Tower. People can watch the actions of marbles as they swirl through a maze.

The YouTube video below shows an aerial view of the Orange Show and Smither Park. It was filmed some time ago because there is much to Smither Park since the time of that filming.

It is easy to visit both venues on the same day since they are close together.

Location

We drove from the far west side of Houston to this east side location and would do it again. The artwork alone makes this a fun park to visit and is quite an attraction! The address is 2441 Munger Street, Houston, Texas 77023.

As you can see by viewing the video below, more has been done since the time of our visit, and yet, it is still not one-hundred percent completed.

Art and works of art do not make an artist; sense and enthusiasm and instinct do.

— Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Source:

Smither Park

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 September 11, 2020:

Hi Denise,

Yes, I can well imagine your appreciation of the mosaics in Smither Park given the type of collage work you do.

Stay well!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 11, 2020:

These mosaics remind me so much of my collages with torn paper. I would love to see this. I think these are fascinating.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

Smither Park is so much fun to visit with all the varied pieces of art on display. Anyone who enjoys folk art should see it in person if visiting Houston.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 22, 2020:

Very attractive folk art on display and there a quite a few attractions with the Smither park one would enjoy watching. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.

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

Hi Dora,

My husband and I have shared many fun times exploring all these places in and around our city. I am glad to know that you are enjoying hearing about them.

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

Hi Linda,

For people who enjoy folk art, Smither Park, as well as the Orange Show Foundation on the same street is most enjoyable to view.

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

Hi Ruby,

You are having some fun with the videos and then what follows them. It makes me smile reading your comments.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2020:

Hi Liz,

Yes, were we to go back anytime soon, I am sure that I could capture many more photographs! Glad you liked these.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

Thanks for your input about which pieces of this folk art wall you like best. It is so much fun to see in person. Thanks for the good wishes. You stay safe up there also!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 26, 2020:

Peggy, I admire the relationship bonding that you and husband invest in by taking these trips together. So educational and entertaining. Also very thoughtful that you share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Yes, this embellishment of the wall and other surfaces has many people participating in the result of this particular folk art site. It is fun to see all of the different interpretations of art.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2020:

Hi Genna,

Smither Park does awaken allmost all of one's senses. It was one of our enjoyable folk art discoveries in the Houston area.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 24, 2020:

I love the art that depicts animals. Smither Park sounds and looks like a fun and interesting place to visit.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 24, 2020:

The artwork in the second video is amazing, bits and pieces of everything is used. If I lived close I would definitely visit. BTW, my favorite country singer is on the back side of the video. ( George Jones )

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

To say that this folk art park is unique is an understatement. Ha!

Liz Westwood from UK on April 24, 2020:

You have found a real gem of an art park. Plenty to catch any photographer's eye.

C E Clark from North Texas on April 23, 2020:

Smither Park does look like an interesting and fun place to visit. Think I like the humming bird and the butterfly the best so far. Another great article to entice people to visit and as always, great photos. Sharing this on AH & FB.

Hope you will be cautious if things open up down there. Safety first. Be well.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 23, 2020:

I especially like that it’s a work in progress and thus invites participation.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 23, 2020:

I looove that opening photo Peg...it is so vivid and imaginative. And the other images as well.

"Art and works of art do not make an artist; sense and enthusiasm and instinct do".

— Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Well said...and I so enjoyed this mini tour. Words are not just words...for anyone who writes they are musical instruments, brushes, molding clay, and so forth. The enable us to create in our imaginations that same sense of enthusiasm and instinct.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 23, 2020:

The art ay this paek is really wonerfuk. I really like how unique ans colorful it is. This park would make a fun day for a visit.