Happy Little Hooligans,  Oh, the Places I'll Go!

Bayou City Art Festival

Last weekend our plans got canceled so I decided to check out Jill B. Jarvis.com to see what else may be going on around town. First of all, if you have kids and live anywhere near Houston you need to be following her page. Jill does an amazing job of listing all the major (and minor) events going on every single week in Houston. I loved her site before when it was Big Kid Small City, but when she complimented me on the pictures on this little blog, I fell in love. Also, I probably creeped her out. So if you’re not following her, leave this blog immediately and click here. She’ll make your life so much easier and your kids will love you for all the fun they’ll have. Just trust me.

Anyway, I saw a little something about this Bayou City Art Festival around City Hall and Sam Houston Park, and immediately started making plans. Kids 5 and under are free (that’s right – I got BOTH of my kids in for free!) and when we bought tickets at Randall’s they were only $10 each for adults. Parking was also $10 but I feel like that was cheap for an event downtown. I’m not sure if they were supposed to let us keep our tickets or not, but since they did I guess we could have come the next day too if we wanted.

Immediately after entering the gates we saw this amazing piece of glass art by Sharon Mowry and I’d have to say this artist, and this particular piece, really set the mood for me to be utterly amazed the whole day. It’s a good thing I only had enough money for food because I wanted to take that very first piece (and sooo many more) home with me. We meandered down McKinney Street admiring all the artwork, but by the time we hit Sam Houston Park the kids were both already ready to do something else. Luckily that was where the Children’s Creative Zone was set up.

I don’t know how much time we spent chasing bubbles, but it never got old. Also, we need to make one of these bubble wand things. Perhaps another blog post?

They had a few crafts for the kids too, so Harper got to paint a rock, make a spinner/fan thing, and do a little mixed media art. She also got to make a little seed pod and no surprise, she chose to use edamame seeds. The same group had these giant carrots they were letting the kids peel down to almost nothing, and if they did it they got a coupon for admission for 2 to the Health Museum. If she was going to try to give up I had already planned to jump in there and do it myself! Not sure when we’ll go but that’ll probably be another fun outing to post about!

I’m not sure who had more fun with this “holey house,” as we referred to it. And yes, I had to look up the correct spelling for “holey.” Just a little building in the park with holes everywhere. Random pictures covered the inside walls. I didn’t see any kind of description or where it came from, but then it was crawling with kids so it’s possible I missed it. Also, I was certain Hudson was going to fall right out.

Update: After visiting the park for another event, I found a sign labeling this somewhat permanent exhibit “Open House.”

I’m kinda loving the food truck craze that’s been going on the last few years and because this is Houston, the food is art as well. Obviously, we had to get the staples for the kids, chicken tenders and fries, but Dustin and I also tried Sticky’s Chicken and just typing this really makes me want some more of their chicken over rice. We also got some shaved ice which was was good on a hot day, but once you’ve had shaved ice in Hawaii it’s just never the same anywhere else.

Our favorite treats were from Pop Fancy Pops. Harper saw them and said, “It’s really hot out here so we should get a popsicle to cool off!” You don’t have to twist my arm, kid. She got a chocolate brownie and I got a strawberry lemonade. When she decided she liked mine better and I agreed to a trade, she said “This tastes like a miracle!”

Poor Hudson signed “eat” the ENTIRE day. The kid is a bottomless pit and he’s only 15 months old. I already can’t afford to keep a constant flow of food shoveled into his mouth so by the time he is 15 years we may need to take out a second mortgage.

Sam Houston Park is such a pretty area and Harper’s favorite are always the trees. We cannot come to this area without doing a little climbing. And is there a kid alive that doesn’t like to swing?

We did actually go to the art festival to enjoy the art too, I promise. It was really cool to see so many different artists, all with different styles, using different media, all in one place. It was like going to a big museum, outdoors in a beautiful part of town. I probably should be better about exposing my children to more art (okay let’s get real, myself too), but I just don’t see us spending a whole lot of time in art museums. I picture sitcoms where the glass sculpture is knocked over, a drink is splashed all over the painting, and we’re trying to stick the statue’s hand back on with chewing gum. When they’re older I fully intend to take them to the Louvre and every other museum along the way, but for now, this setting was perfection. There was a lot of, “Oh look at the _____!” from all of us, Hudson included (if you could understand him).

 I loved hearing Harper tell me, “This artist was inspired by” unicorns, or boats, or trees, or skeletons, or whatever it may have been. I’m not even sure exactly where she picked that up, but it was pretty awesome to see my 5-year-old appreciating art that way. Her favorite pieces were anything with horses, unicorns or mermaids. Surprised?

Harper’s absolute favorite artist was Lisa Morales, who happens to live in Pearland. A local girl!! She creates these incredible collages out of paper with various prints and colors and turns them into these beautiful (and quite adorable) images of animals, flowers, etc. I miiight have signed up for her mailing list so I can get a free greeting card from her. Maybe.

Seriously aren’t these beautiful? And look closer. It’s all different papers!

Dustin’s favorite were the metal sculptures by Adam Homan. There were a lot of sculptors that used repurposed items, especially metal, to create whatever creature or object they dreamt up. The other artists that really stuck out in our minds were Fred Conlon (I need his flying pig in my yard!) Robert Nehring and Lewis Tardy. All used repurposed materials, but they all had their own unique style and character. The cool thing about Adam Homan’s creations though, was his use of these fiber optics for eyes. They looked exactly like they all had LED eyes, but it was really just the sunlight shining through the fiber making them glow. Minds blown.

He also really liked the circuit board art by Gregory Arth. I’m not sure if it was the materials themselves, or the images of R2D2 and C3PO with cowboy hats that he liked best. Not gonna lie, I was torn between the American flag and the Texas flag as my favorites of his work. I had no idea what the technological use of most any of those parts are, but we stood and stared at all those tiny pieces for a looong time.


I was just blown away by the talent of these seemingly average people, just hanging out at an art festival displaying their handiwork. I like to think I’m a little crafty sometimes, but my glue gun creations seem so elementary in comparison. And my photography? Psh. I’m just proud that I don’t shoot in full auto.

I couldn’t begin to choose a favorite artist, or even harder, a particular piece, but there are a few that stand out in my mind. I already mentioned Shanon Mowry’s incredible glass creations, and the flying pig sculpture by Fred Conlon that I neeeed for my back yard whenever we get that done because, well, it will get done when pigs fly.

There was also an artist that somehow had indoor/outdoor paintings, named Homer Allen. They had a flowery piece set up with a little fountain spraying on it all day. Maybe my never-gonna-happen outdoor living space will be an outdoor art gallery!

There were a lot of painters, particularly landscape painters, so it’s hard to remember any specific ones but one of the ones that I remember was Kenneth Halvorsen. He creates these massive landscape paintings with such vivid colors and so. much. texture. I have a thing for oil paintings with texture. I don’t know what it is but seriously, I love them. His paintings had a little extra texture and a little extra color and, bluebonnets. I’m also a sucker for bluebonnets.

I was also pretty fascinated with Kaytha Coker Potts’s yarn art. It reminded me of a second-grade art project with strings of yarn all glued down on a page supposed to make a picture of some sort, but her stuff was seriously on a whole different scale. From a few steps back, they looked like very detailed paintings, like, with just paint, but when you got close and saw it was all yarn it was hard to believe that was possible. No, this was not embroidery, this was literally painting with yarn.

Another artist that fascinated me I cannot find on the artist list for the life of me, but my Googling of “metal screen artist” eventually led to Eric Boyer. It had to be Eric Boyer that was there. He creates these amazing 3D images of the human body (in various positions and with its various, umm… parts) using only a wire mesh. Rough edges and all. If they were actual life size I would have believed that he just cut the mesh out of an old screen door, wrapped it around someone, formed it to their body and called it art. But that was not the case. His work is absolutely mesmerizing, though not exactly something I felt like examining for too long with my 5-year-old. Still, it was incredible.

Then there was all the photography. I am so jealous of not only their abilities with a camera, but also of the places these people have gone to get to take these pictures in the first place! Agh! It’s not fair!

Before we left, Harper was dying to put her feet in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. Hudson was dying to get all the way in. I will say it had turned out to be a pretty hot day and the water felt really good on our feet. We had a little more fun before we left, just enjoying the time with our kids, surrounded by so much beauty. The weather, the art, the city, the park, and the giggles of the little people in our company made for the perfect day.

We’ll definitely have to go back next year, and maybe one day we’ll even bring some art home!

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