Arts / Galleries

Silver Street Studios Transforms Into Ultimate Party Scene With Stilt Walking, Prized Auction Pieces and More — Houston Arts Alliance Adds On

A City That Loves Art With a Mayor to Prove It

BY // 11.24.23
photography Johnny Than

For Houston Arts Alliance’s second ever Add On Art Gala, co-chairs Craig and Tatiana Massey, Meredith and Mason Barker and board chair Michele Leal Farah welcomed more than 400 Houstonians to the Warehouse at Silver Street Studios. Immediately after stepping off of the red carpet at the entrance, attendees were greeted with a sky-high surprise.

That would be stilt walker Kenali Kendrick of J&D Entertainment, wearing a long pink and purple gown that served as a backdrop for photo-ops. 

Inside the warehouse, the party was alive. The crowd enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while exploring the displayed artwork and jamming to the Latin music stylings of Orquesta Son d’Aché. Holding true to the “mod cocktail” theme, the aesthetic of the evening was full of glitz and glamour, with lightup orbs and disco balls illuminating the space with color.

The focal point of the party was, of course, the art. The night before the gala, Houston Arts Alliance’s 20 featured artists were joined by their sponsors to create collaborative “Add On” artworks. These one-of-a-kind creations were all around the warehouse, and the artists themselves were present to mingle with attendees and talk about their work. A silent auction for these collaborative artworks took place throughout the night. 

As the sun set, dinner and remarks began. ABC 13 morning anchor Rita Garcia — emcee for the evening — addressed the crowd, thanking the audience for attending. She also revealed the gala’s special guest — none other than outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who made a surprise appearance to commemorate Houston’s dedication to the arts. 

Katy Anderson, Mayor Sylvester Turner, featured artist Patrick Medrano at Houston Arts Alliance's Add On Art (Photo by Johnny Than)
Katy Anderson, Mayor Sylvester Turner, featured artist Patrick Medrano at Houston Arts Alliance’s Add On Art (Photo by Johnny Than)

Houston Arts Alliance CEO John Abodeely then took the stage, revealing that the organization will unveil a new logo this winter and giving the audience a sneak preview of the design. He then thanked the arts community, encouraged the crowd to support HAA, and introduced the honorees: collecting couple Leigh and Reggie Smith, and Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) founder Alice Valdez

(Check out PaperCity‘s previous coverage of the arty difference makers for more on their contribution to Houston’s art scene.) 

The Smith’s – Leigh, Sam, Sarah, Ross, and Caroline Smith 410-2023-10-20 HAA Gala (Photo by Johnny Than)
The Smith family: Caroline & Ross Smith, honoree Leigh Smith, Sam Smith, Sarah Smith at Houston Arts Alliance’s Add On Art Gala (Photo by Johnny Than)

“You are one of the few Houstonian culture bearers who have carried a torch for justice for decades, often with two little support,” Abodeely says of Valdez. “You have fought against erasure. You have not only taught thousands of children. You raised them.” 

Abodeely is equally enthusiastic about the Smiths.

“You two are the hardest working, most generous, most brilliant, and most kind people in all of Houston,“ Abodeely says. “You have built institutions that make this city great. You are avid and brilliant collectors of art, supporting artists here and everywhere.” 

The audience was then graced with a second surprise: a performance by students from MECA’s ballet folklórico program.

Gala-goers delighted in a surprise performance by MECA's ballet folklórico students at Houston Arts Alliance's Add On Art Gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Gala-goers delighted in a surprise performance by MECA’s ballet folklórico students at Houston Arts Alliance’s Add On Art Gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)

The rest of the evening was spent dancing to throwback jams from DJ Flash Gordon. At the end of the night, the auction winners were announced, with several works going to notable collectors. Zsavon Butler’s art sold to Craig Taylor, Mark Francis’ piece went to David Ayers and Craig Massey went home with a work by Angelbert Metoyer. Through another successful Add On Art Gala, Houston Arts Alliance raised $583,000 for their mission of bolstering the City of Houston’s ambitious arts goals.   

PC Seen: Dr. Penelope Marks and Lester Marks, Alton DuLaney, Antonio Orozco, Ed Kachinske in from DC, Ileana and Michael Treviño, Duyen and Marc Nguyen,Lauren Anderson and Chris StanawayKelley Lubanko, Shawn Stephens, Stewart Rosenberg, Jose Ocque, Yelena Grinina, Greta Ravitsky Pliskin, Luba and Alan Bigman, Kelly and John Silvers, Divya and Chris Brown, and Katie and Jon Deal. Additionally seen were featured artists Reynier Leyva Novo, Patrick Medrano, Alex Ramos and Billy Baccam of Input Output, Cruz Ortiz, Zsavon Butler, Delita Martin with husband Cedric, Chaney Trotter with husband Pete Scalzitti, Mark Francis with his wife, Jonathan Paul Jackson, Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee with husband Chris, Angelbert Metoyer, and Colby Deal.

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