Arts / Museums

New Houston Art Campus and Art Car World to Spring From The Orange Show’s Mega Expansion

No Ordinary Museum Or Gallery Space is Being Plotted

BY // 11.18.21

The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art celebrates its fourth decade with the official reveal, made Thursday, of its forthcoming Houston expansion. An eight-acre campus — inclusive of the current site and that of a former industrial palette warehouse — will be transformed into “a world-class, flexible performance and exhibition space,” one that includes a permanent, year-round home for historic and notable Art Cars.

Following Orange Show executive director Tommy Ralph Pace’s subtle tease of the nonprofit’s next chapter at last month’s gala, the Orange Show has released complete details and renderings of the expansion under the creative talent of New York and Houston-based architectural firm Rogers Partners. The colorful, interactive added features will be adjacent to The Orange Show Monument and Smither Park, which will be enhanced to include a Mosaic Alley that runs along the park perimeter.

The most creative element of the expansion will be the 800-foot-long ramp “that will run through the entire campus, providing new ways to engage with the buildings and art cars while offering a destination for a promenade for visitors.” It will also cleverly provide infrastructure to support restrooms, service counters and shaded viewing area.

In addition to the performance and exhibition spaces, the build out will include offices as well as a comprehensive visionary art library and archive, and spaces for education and events. The expanded campus will segue into the city’s Fonde Park, thus adding an additional nine acres of green space which brings the total visitor experience to 17 acres.

While total cost of the project has not yet been revealed, a source tells PaperCity that it will be in the tens of millions. Houston can look forward to a robust capital campaign following announcement of the cost.

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An 800-foot ramp will serve as the central spine of the expanded Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. (Rendering courtesy of Rogers Partners)

“With this expansion, we’ll be able to bring the community together in an entirely new way,” Pace says in a release. “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.

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“The energy of the expansion is focused on activating community involvement with the creative process. We believe in the power of radical self-expression, and want to reimagine the way visitors approach contemporary art by stepping away from the traditional museum spaces and challenge and redefine our ideas about what constitutes fine art, and who it can come from.”

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