Rodeo time, Houston! When I think of the Houston rodeo, the images, sounds and smells that come to mind are BBQ, hay, country music, boots, barrel racing and art.
Of course, art. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been encouraging students’ creative side (western-themed, of course) for more than 50 years with the School Art Program.
The art, by students ranging from pre-K to 12th grade, is stunning. Step outside the norm this year and visit the aptly named Hayloft Gallery.
The School Art Program supports 142 different school districts, including private and parochial schools, in the Houston area. Last year, the rodeo received more than 200,000 entries, making the total more than 9.4 million entries recorded since 1965.
The program is more than just an art competition. There also are contests, workshops and scholarships. Just for the workshops alone it’s worth it. They are held at the Glassel School of Art at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Western Art Academy at Schreiner University.
There is The Hospital Art Contest, too, for young patients at Houston-area hospitals.
Each year, 15 graduating high school students receive four-year, $20,000 scholarships to pursue a degree in a subject of their choice at a Texas college or university.
The artwork is divided into seven categories: colored drawing, mixed media, monochromatic, painting, 3D, elementary and junior high. Bottom line, the art is great and in some cases mind-boggling good!
Find the Hayloft Gallery the NRG Center. View an online gallery at rodeohouston.com. Choose “Educational Support > School Art Program.”
While we’re on the theme of western and Texas, Heights resident and photographer Steve Harris has a solo exhibition titled “Texas Troubadours; Revisited,” presented by Redbud Gallery. The opening is March 7 from 6-9 p.m., and the exhibit runs through March 31 at 303 E. 11th St.
From Harris’ artist statement: “The troubadour, as history has it, is a traveling lyricist and poet, or singer. When you bring that definition to Texas’ very distinct style of music, it becomes a fitting moniker for the musicians who do just that; traveling and singing songs that are as real as west Texas dust. As a photographer and a fan of Texas music, I thought it fitting to begin a journey to pay a bit of homage to some of our most talented troubadours, by photographing them out of their element and away from the stage.”
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.