By Christina Perez
There’s no better way to appreciate heART of Huntsville than by visiting the picturesque Town Square. On this week’s session that’s exactly what we did, learning, along the way, of our town’s successful efforts to bring back the spark that once made our town the “Athens of Texas.”
Although we had to alter our original itinerary due to the imminent rain, as they say the show must go on. Our first stop for the night was Old Town Theatre on 12th Street.The historic theatre has been converted since 1997 into a non-profit community theatre for the enjoyment of the many Huntsvillian drama fans. Upon entering, we climbed the 33 narrow steps towards the balcony where we learned about the history of the theatre. Apart from hearing from Professor Yawn and Dr. Pease, those members of the community familiar with the theatre since childhood shared different stories about the early years of the amazing establishment. One interesting aspect of the theatre was its architecture, which forced technicians to develop non-conventual methods to light the stage. After that, we headed down stairs where we were able to get a backstage tour. The colorful sets of a preparing rehearsal made the tour even more exciting. Through the back of the stage, we made our way through a small hallway and into the dressing rooms. Not surprisingly, we were amused by how the women’s dressing room was larger than the men’s.
We were additionally taken into stardom delusion by the Hollywood lighting on the mirrors. Very sublime indeed!
As we headed for the rest of our adventure, Linda Pease, Wynne Home Arts Center Director, gave us a little background about the Richard Haas murals on the exterior of the building.
She explained that Richard Haas thoroughly researched the location of his murals before pitching an idea. Consequently, he found it apt to incorporate the renowned Hollywood actor, Dana Andrews, into the theater’s facade due to the star’s Huntsville birth.
It must be noted that Huntsville prides itself in having numerous Haas murals from this world famous artist who is also exhibited in the streets of New York, St. Louis, Chicago, and many more American cities. The renowned muralist was once a pupil of the celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s, and he chose Huntsville, Texas as home to the largest collection of his trompe l’oeil works. We are truly lucky to have this great Urban Artist’s mesmerizing works of art decorating our city!
After appreciating the Richard Haas murals we walked down the street to the Huntsville Main Street office where we met with Ms. Jasmine Moss.
Ms. Moss, interim Main Street Director and proud Bearkat, took a break from her studying to teach us about Huntsville Main Street’s mission to revitalize downtown. Huntsville Main Street hosts events year round that help market the city’s thriving cultural and community wealth. It is in charge of the nine city blocks that make up the Square, three parks, and 90+ local businesses. We were thankful that Ms. Moss was able to teach us more about our city.
The last stop before dinner was the Satellite Art Gallery.
Run by the Sam Houston State’s art department, pacing through the pair of halls of the gallery we were able to admire the photography of now accomplished artists who attended SHSU during the 70’s.
It was evident that the participants all enjoyed the wide range of subjects depicted in the color and black and white film, from landscapes, to still photography, to artistic portraits and everything imaginable.
Followed thereafter we stepped onto the dimming streets of Huntsville’s downtown and crossed over to the corner of the Roche Building.
Across the Huntsville Courthouse, we were greeted with great enthusiasm inside Patio on the Square Cafe. We had chicken pasta, fresh fruit, and some luscious salad, paired with our choice of ranch, Italian, or blue cheese dressings. It was evident that everyone enjoyed the wonderful flavor of the meal (which is exciting for a college student who lives 3 hours away from mother), and for dessert we had delicious cupcakes from Huntsville’s own Baking Sweet Memories. When the night ended we headed home in hopes to catch the presidential debate, but that’s a story for another blog. With the shine of the square’s streets, silver from the rain, we all bid farewell to our night of art, history, laughs, and memories, a bit melancholic as next week our heART of Huntsville strolls will meet their end.