14 Nov An Afternoon Exploring an Artsy Side of Houston, Texas
We recently spent a weekend in Houston, TX, to photograph a wedding, and even though our free time was limited, I had to schedule in an afternoon to explore. Over the course of the afternoon we ended up checking out an artsy side of Houston by visiting the Rothko Chapel, the Art Car Museum, and the Heights Neighborhood for some vintage shopping.
As we walked into the Rothko Chapel we were completely taken aback. Not knowing what to expect, we walked inside a brick building that reminded me of my elementary school and entered a white octagonal room with blackish paintings on the walls. Inside were numerous people meditating silently while staring at the paintings, the only sound was the clicking of my shoes. We quickly sat down at a bench and glanced at each other, not quite sure what to do next. After a few minutes or so of soaking up the atmosphere of the striking room, we quietly ducked out. It was a very unique and pretty place with great history, but it would have helped to know what it was about before heading in!
So, here’s the rundown of the chapel–the Rothko Chapel was founded in the 60’s by two philanthropists and was made available as a non-denominational sanctuary open to people of all beliefs. As a place for contemplation and meditation, the design of the space was inspired by the paintings inside, which were created by Mark Rothko. The chapel’s mission is “to inspire people to action through art and contemplation, to nurture reverence for the highest aspirations of humanity and to provide a form for global concerns.” Throughout its history, the chapel has received many awards relating to subjects such as art, community, faith and peace. Out front by the chapel, you will find an obelisk sculpture that was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. that was originally located in Washington D.C. The chapel is quite an interesting site to see with the combination of the architecture and the art that is housed inside. Photography was not allowed in the sanctuary, but you can check out their website if you want to get a glimpse.
Art Car Museum:
Each year Houston hosts an Art Car Parade, a three-day event that features cars that have been transformed into art. The art cars are made out of anything and everything, with the catch that they are actually still operational and legal to drive (meaning they have to be registered and all that fun stuff). Some examples of the cars you might see are a red stiletto, a peacock, a car filled with pop art, or even a fruitmobile. Many of the cars are designed to look like something specific and others are just decorated artistically. If you want to get a look at a few of the art cars, you can head to the Art Car Museum. While there are usually only three cars on display at a time, the cars do change every few months. It may seem like a waste of time to stop by the museum for only three cars, but we still really enjoyed it–the museum is free to enter, and in addition to the cars, there are other art exhibits in the building as well. The cars we saw were the Heroicar, which had a giant superhero mounted on top and was also the first place winner of the 2013 parade.
Frankenova was made to look like Frankenstein and was a timely placement due to the Halloween season.
The car on display outside was called Tired and Feathered and it was quite the interesting combination of materials.
During our visit, the additional exhibit was called in-DEPTH and consisted of various sculptures, paintings and artistic displays throughout the museum. The art was definitely quirky, but it was fun to see such a wide variety in a relatively small space. This isn’t the type of place where you need to spend hours, but it makes for a fun stop if you enjoy funky art and aren’t too far away.
The Heights Neighborhood:
I love walking aimlessly around fun neighborhoods to just explore and see what’s around, so our next and final stop was the perfect way to end the afternoon. We made our way to the Heights area for some vintage and antique shopping. This neighborhood is filled with vintage stores, boutiques and even a couple of art galleries. It makes for a great stop if you enjoy finding old treasures, but if you prefer to buy new, there are several small shops you can make your way into as well. Overall, it was a fun place–the only downside was we wanted to take too much home with us!
Even though we didn’t have a chance to see much of Houston over the short weekend, we still had a great time exploring a few of the artsy spots in town. Next time I might have to plan our visit around the Art Car Parade to marvel at the entire collection of crazy cars.
Oh, and we do travel to photograph weddings if you or anyone you know is getting married…just saying!