Building Houston's first folk art inspired green space - designed and created by local artists.
Destined to be a cultural asset in the underserved East End area of Houston, Smither Park - a new project from the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art - will be an artistic venue, sustainable green space, and the region's first folk art-inspired public park created entirely out of a myriad of recycled and found materials each hand-placed in a mosaic fashion by local artists. Once completed, this whimsical new outdoor environment will feature a grotto, memory wall, meditation area, tunnels, interactive sculptures, and swings.
It is the swings that we are eagerly raising money to complete - because to us, swinging represents one of those simple, carefree joys when you can forget about all the stress and troubles in your life and just enjoy the wind rushing through your hair. It is that very feeling that Smither Park will exude; a smile-inducing wonderland of colors and textures, free for the public to enjoy.
But first let us tell you a little about what goes into building Smither Park.
Set on a half-acre adjacent to the world-famous Orange Show Monument, The first stage of construction is currently underway at Smither Park - the Memory Wall. It's a 400-foot long undulating wall spanning the entire length of the park, upon which artists and individuals have created a variety of panels paying tribute to loved ones. Using a mixture of chicken wire, styrofoam, and thin-set, artists construct three-dimensional worlds out of anything from bottle caps to broken porcelain dishes to glass tiles. Each panel can take an artist anywhere from 30 to 300 hours to complete.
This is the type of art that will cover all of the structures found at Smither Park once it is completed. The entire space will be a visual masterpiece - rivaling other folk art environments across the world, like India's Nek Chand Rock Garden or Philadelphia's Magic Gardens.
In addition, the park will be an interactive wonderland - incorporating QR code technology within each different section - allowing us to tell the history of Smither Park, information about the artists, and create scavenger hunts for the adventurous.
Stephanie Smither, Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Board Member and long-time folk art collector, dreamt up Smither Park as a tribute to her late husband, John Smither. Together with her friend and world-renowned visionary designer and builder Dan Phillips they determined the vision of the park. Check out Dan's incredible TedxHouston talk from 2010:
Stephanie and Dan called upon some of Houston's most prolific artists to join forces and bring Smither Park to life. While the list of artists keeps growing, those currently working on the park include:
Debbie Wetmore | Stephanie Smither | Gena Atwell | Rebecca Bass | Marsha Phillips | Mayte & Luis Porras | Matt Gifford | Sabrina Bedford | Ester Lee | Edie Wells | Shannon Bryant | Joy Mullet | Kate Kendall | George Boone | Linda Zapalac | Joy Moore | Alisha & Trevor Squire | Megan & Garret Welch | Gwyneth Campbell | Corazon Rodriguez | Dennis Starks | Caroll Ison | Shelly Buscher | Deborah Elliot | Marilyn Brooks | John Kerr Smither | Paige Johnson | Barbara Denson | Blake Miller | Connie Caruthers | Matt Gorgol | April Donovan | Barbara & Marks Hinton
So here's where you come in. We are in the process of raising funds for the completion of three amazing swings to be placed in the park. Two of the swings have already been sponsored - but this third swing will be a group effort, and we need your help to get it built!
Your donations to our project can make that happen. The money that we raise will go towards the development of the structure that will hold the swing, the necessary materials needed to make sure it's structurally safe, and of course compensation for the amazing artists that will be embellishing it with their designs.
We've provided a variety of funding levels, that you can see on the right of your screen - many of which reward you with original pieces of art created by the very artists working on Smither Park.
Thank you for supporting Smither Park!
For more information about the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art and Smither Park, visit us online at www.orangeshow.org.
Press for Smither Park
We also invite you to take a look at some of the press Smither Park has received over the past year:
Not all of them. The rewards are only cumulative if they are specified in the description. For instance, if you donate $75, you will not also get a t-shirt and a sticker. Only at the $1000, $5000 and $10,000 levels do funders get additional rewards.
Kickstarter won't let you choose multiple levels to donate to. However, it does allow you to choose your own amount. If you are interested in receiving both a sticker and a t-shirt, add up the two levels then type in the amount you would like to pledge - in that case $10 + $35 = $45.
For the $75 level donation, is the reward an "adoption" of a piece of Smither Park, or will we actually receive a piece of artwork?
You will actually receive a piece of artwork! Our fabulous artists working on Smither Park are creating small "art objects" for those that donate $75 - it could be a painted tile or a mosaic-covered piece of concrete. It will be completely original, completely unique, and totally in the spirit of Smither Park!
pledged of $9,800 goal
seconds to go
Sep 18, 2012 - Nov 3, 2012
Pledge $10 or more
With your $10 donation we will send you an awesome Smither Park sticker! Slap it on your car, bike, iPad, bulletin board, or anywhere you want people to see it! We'll also put your name on the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither Park.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $35 or more
A $35 donation will get you a very cool, screen-printed t-shirt designed by a local Houston artist. You're going to want to wear this EVERYWHERE. You'll also be recognized on the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither ParkEstimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $75 or more
For $75 you will get an actual piece of Smither Park, embellished by one of the amazing artists currently working on the project. It could be a painted tile or a piece of concrete covered in mosaic - whatever it is it will be one-of-a-kind! In addition, you and a guest will be invited to the Smither Park Sponsor Party to be held in the Spring of 2013. We'll also add your name to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither Park.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $125 or more
At the $125 level, we will send you a gorgeous hand-made bracelet designed by Stephanie Smither and Gena Atwell, two of the artists working contributing to Smither Park. You and a guest will also be invited to the Smither Park Sponsor Party to be held in the Spring of 2013, and we'll add your name to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither Park.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $200 or more
Your $200 donation will get you two of the hand-made bracelets designed by Stephanie Smither and Gena Atwell - one for you and one for your significant other, or to give as a gift! You and a guest will also be invited to the Smither Park Sponsor Party to be held in the Spring of 2013, and we'll add your name to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither Park.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $500 or more
7 backers Limited (23 of 30 left)
Your $500 donation will get you a limited edition (only 30 available) hand-made art object in the style of Smither Park, designed by a handful of well-known Houston artists including Debbie Wetmore, Dean Ruck and Rebecca Bass. You and a guest will also be invited to the Smither Park Sponsor Party to be held in the Spring of 2013, and we'll add your name to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art website as a Friend of Smither Park.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $1,000 or more
2 backers Limited (4 of 6 left)
A $1000 donation to Smither Park will allow you and a guest the opportunity for an intimate tour of the amazing artist residences in Huntsville, TX designed by Smither Park's lead designer Dan Phillips. You will also be treated to a lunch at the home of Stephanie Smither where you can admire her world-class folk art collection and learn firsthand her inspiration for building Smither Park. You will also receive all the benefits from the $125 level and below! Exact date of tour TBD.Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
Your $5000 donation will get you an absolutely priceless, one-of-a-kind Bone Chair created by Smither Park designer Dan Phillips. Phillips' Bone Chairs are, as they sound, made out of bones, and are in museums and private collections across the world. In addition, you'll get all the benefits from the $500 donation and below!Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Pledge $10,000 or more
0 backers Limited (1 of 1 left)
A $10,000 donation, in addition to being a hero and funding the entire project, will get your name onto one of the beautiful swings at Smither Park - allowing children of all ages the opportunity to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. In addition, you'll receive all the benefits from the $1000 level and below!Estimated delivery: Jan 2013