With the hurricane season upon us and our whirlwind of events this week, heART of Huntsville was also on our radar. As a yearly tradition, the LEAP Ambassadors are always excited for this cultural program that teaches community members about art in Huntsville. This first week, we were especially excited because Mr. James Reston was accompanying us through our tour of Sam Houston’s campus.
We started off our tour at the Gaddis-Geeslin Gallery. Currently, the gallery is hosting Photography in Place, an exhibit showcasing the works by photographers Jean-Sebastien Boncy, Leigh Merrill, and Allison V. Smith.
Dr. Michael Henderson, Department Chair of the Art Department, who generously support this program, provided some insight on these impressive works.
Also in attendance was Dr. Melissa Mednicov, art history professor at SHSU, who offered more information on the artists.
As we finished viewing the works in the gallery, we began our hike towards the College of Humanities and Socials Sciences (CHSS). Along the way, Professor Mike Yawn introduced us to Sam’s newest art along Avenue J. Entering the CHSS building, Professor Yawn pointed out a piece by Jesus Moroles that stands on the east grounds of the College. Mrs. Linda Pease, the Cultural Services Coordinator for the Wynne Home Cultural Arts Center, also imparted her knowledge of his work due to various pieces being housed at the Wynne Home. Walking through the building we learned about the art by Bruce Marion that hangs at the west entrance.
Next on our itinerary was the Gaertner Performing Arts Center (GPAC), but we decided to take a detour and step into the Newton-Gresham Library. As we all kept very quiet, we viewed works by Charles Pebworth and David Adickes. There was also an exposition of James Reston’s book of which he seemed to enjoy.
From there, we walked over to the Gaertner Performing Arts Center. Named after James Gaertner and his wife Nancy, the building is home to the Fine Arts Program at Sam Houston State University. Most people would agree that the GPAC is one of the most impressive buildings on campus. It is home to multiple recital halls and a lot of art.
As Mr. Thompson, gave us a tour of the Performing Arts Center, the heART of Huntsville participants were in awe as they got a look around. Hanging above us, we were told, was a wood and metal mobile named “Around the Flower Wall” by James Surls.
James Surls is a very well-known artist who is an SHSU Alumn and a former professor at Sam. The LEAP ambassadors have seen art by Surls on several trips. The GPAC is also home to a Jesus Moroles sculpture and a series of photographs. These last pieces everyone found most intriguing as he is most known for his sculpting skills.
When we were done with our tour of the Performing Arts Center we walked across campus to Austin Hall where a spread of Asian food was waiting us. We made our plates and settled in for a chance to relax in the air conditioning and eat our dinner.
It was nice to learn some history behind Austin Hall and get to spend some quality time with all of the guests.
As the night ended we said our “see you later” to Mr. Reston who had enlightened us with his company for the past couple of days.
We were not only excited to have learned a lot about the art on campus but also have spent some time with great people from our community. With everyone delighted with the first evening of heART of Huntsville, we were looking forward for next Tuesday’s art filled adventure. Next week we will take everyone around the Downtown Square and explore the City of Huntsville.