Client: Orange Show Center for Visionary Art - Smither Park
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2014
The Lindley amphitheatre or band shell is on 350 square feet with the design covering 2400 square feet of structure. It is a custom bent steel structure with a concrete floor and power. The interior and exterior are made of hand-cut thin sheet metal “scales” relating to the fish design. Tiles, mirror, a rotating mirrored ball, satellite dishes, antennae, old farm disks are among the metal items used to complete the design.
The Lindley amphitheatre, as part of the original plan, was the first structure given to one artist to design and complete. Along with a Pavillion, it dominates the south end of the entire Park. Matt Gifford, an artist from Nashville was known to Dan from a previous project. After seeing the structure, Matt commented, “ I knew I wanted to have a gaping mouth emerging from the ground. It contains the nature of interactivity and the draw of unknown forces. I settled on a behemoth fish motif”. (Molly Glentzer Houston Chronicle) The Angler fish best fits this description. Following the designs of other areas of the Park, a fantastical fish sets the tone for other structures to be as yet completed.
The Orange Show Center For Visionary Art’s Smither Park is situated close to the Orange Show monument in the diverse East End of Houston. The Park has been created in memory of John H. Smither, a prominent arts and sustainability advocate. Dan Phillips, internationally known visionary artist and builder along with Stephanie Smither created the overall design of the Park. The Orange Show for Visionary Art's board of directors wanted to establish a special place to honor John Smither and all agreed to establish a community gathering place to enhance its existing non-developed land around the Orange Show Monument. Stephanie Smither chaired the creation of the park working with Dan Philips in establishing a community gathering place for art workshops, performance events all in a wonderland of mosaics. Together they collaborated on the structures that would serve these ends. The artists chosen had to understand the concept of using re-cycled materials sourced in the community and donated by civic groups, businesses, and others.
The Amphitheatre has become a focus of delight in the neighborhood and with groups visiting the Park. It has been used for weddings, dance and music performances and poetry readings. Providing shelter from the rain and sun, it is a completed vision which stands as a symbol for delight and imagination.