By Karla Rosales
After a fun and successful first week of heART of Huntsville, we were excited to begin the second week. We started our session at the Huntsville Statue and Visitor Center where we met the Tourism & Cultural Services Director, Kimm Thomas.
She began by giving us an overview of the different tourism attractions within Huntsville like the magnificent Big Sam statue. She then entertained us with an animated video designed by the Animation Department at SHSU. The video, developed in partnership with SHSU students and City of Huntsville staff, amusingly explained the history behind General Sam Houston and the complex process of erecting the statue. As the clip met its end it was time to marvel at this Huntsville treasure.
Once at the foot of the towering statue, the group deemed it apt to snap a quick group picture.
Our excitement was further stimulated for we would soon have a chance to mingle with the sculptor of the 67-foot-tall Texas Hero, David Adickes.
First, however, we headed for a tour of outdoor sculptures around town led by Huntsville expert Professor Yawn.
Our first stop was the Reclining Figure by John Stewart laying its stone body along Sam Houston Avenue in front of Fire Station 1. Stewart sculpted this piece to commemorate the deceased astronauts aboard the Challenger in 1986. Our next stop was the Smither Sculpture by Andy Emmons. The artistic assortment of glass covered plaster shaped into lions, dragons, and other mystical beasts includes a silvery figure (the Protector of Child) as the center piece with little children sitting on his arm. After very crafty maneuvering by our accomplished bus driver, we arrived at City Hall for a quick view of Charles Pebworth’s sculpture Totem Number One.
Along with a great work of art, City Hall is also home to a great amphitheater which sometimes hosts concerts. It was great to see the reactions of the participants as some of the life long residents had no idea about these great attractions.
After this final stop, we drove around the city admiring more sculptures such as Wynne Home’s exterior ornamented with Jesus Moroles artistic granite, the sculpture on Sam Houston’s Grave by Pompeo Coppini, and other sculptures along the way.
With hungry stomachs and a head full of art we headed to Carbonero for dinner. With the great assortment of Salvadorian cuisine we enjoyed mouthwatering tacos, enchiladas, and pupusas (a favorite among the LEAP Ambassadors). As always, food was great!
After dinner we went to the Adickes Foundation, the moment we had all been waiting for. For some of us it wasn’t our first time entering this surreal emporium of art. Regardless, the repurposed High School’s walls and hallways decorated with Adickes’ wondrous paintings are always breath taking. To welcome us to his foundation, Mr. Adickes offered a brief introduction about some of his favorite works.
With Mr. Adickes’ great enthusiasm to tell tales of Houston’s historic art culture, we were even more excited to tour the gallery. Among the collections was a series of three paintings along with a picture of Elvis Presley’s living room. This living room was all the more intriguing as it was clearly visible that on the King’s walls hung the very same trio of paintings on the corner wall of the foundation. Apparently Mr. Adickes discovered that Elvis had previously bought a copule of his paintings, which he had to buy from the Elvis estate to display in his own foundation. Other paintings fascinated us by the unconventional techniques and materials used during it’s inception, such as implementing the use of sand and coffee beans.Many of us looked around for our favorite piece of art, but with Adickes’ talent in styles ranging from cubism to realism and everything in between, this was a tough decision.
After enjoying friendly conversation, we ended our tour sharing a selfie with Mr. Adickes and other community friends in front of one of the artist’s favorite pieces.
As a great finale to a great tour of the city, we ended our evening back at the Sam Houston Statue ready for next week’s heART of Huntsville adventure!