Arts / Museums

The Queen Car

High School Kids Make An Art Car That Needs to be Seen to be Believed

BY // 04.06.16

We recently spoke with Rebecca Bass, the talented and devoted teacher to the Reagan High School Art Car Club, herself a serious artist with dozens of Art Cars under her belt. She spoke about the school car slated to appear in this weekend’s installment of the Houston Art Car Parade. This year, the storied parade has a new circuit, one that will run along Smith from Pease to Walker and in a circle around Hermann Square and City Hall, before ending at Bagby and Lamar. (VIPit Art Car Parade Experience tickets still available here.)

In preview of one of the year’s most unique and definitive Houston-centric art happenings, Bass opened up about the creative process:

“The car is named Bohemian Rhapsody, and the awesome artists are the Reagan High School Art Car Club, an after-school, not-for-credit, totally voluntary group of dedicated students with a vision,” Bass said. “This is the first year this entry has been in the parade; we started it on January 4 after school and have not stopped yet. It will be complete by midnight April 6.”

“It has taken 10 students 30 hours a week for 15 weeks to finish this beauty,” she added. “We sculpted the figures (and dragon) out of one-pound bead foam, covered it with synthetic stucco and then decorated it with jewels, gee-gaws, and whatever we could find a bunch of for free. Charming Charlie has donated boxes and boxes of jewelry for us to bedazzle our creation, and Mancuso Harley-Davidson on the North Loop has donated all the lovely chrome that my students have welded onto the car to make it so beautiful!. Underneath it all is a 1993 Nissan Sentra. We’ve certainly improved it.”

Why Queen? “The students have all kinds of Queen music on their playlists and wanted to do a tribute to the band. 2015 was the 40th anniversary of the release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ so they jumped on that theme. My homework assignment for them was to watch Wayne’s World,” Bass said. “This is my 31st art car I have created with students. I obviously love every minute of it, and it has been an honor to work side by side with hundreds of young artists through the years.”

Save the date: The Houston Art Car Parade convenes earlier than usual this year, on Saturday, April 9, at 2 pm, but with goings-on (including a Main Street Drag) from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10.

The Electric Ladyland car by Reagan High School Art Club, winner of the Mayor’s Cup award at the 28th Annual Houston Art Car Parade, 2015.

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