Detour Worth Making: Houston’s The Orange Show

Created by visionary mailman Jefferson Davis McKissack, Houston’s The Orange Show is a folk-art environment; a monumental work of handmade architecture; and a sanctuary for the eccentric, all rolled into one.

The maze-like, 3000-square-foot behemoth includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, and a museum. Having taken several decades to construct, the sprawling art-opolis is made almost entirely from objects McKissack found while delivering mail: bits of concrete, brick, steel, gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats, and statuettes. In addition to an outdoor museum, The Orange Show also promotes community-wide muraling and art therapy initiatives, and promotes other free-thinking area artists and their work (think: the Beer Can House and the Flower Man).

McKissack created The Orange Show in honor of his favorite fruit — um, the orange — and today, his organization focuses on making art tangible and accessible. One of its early makin’-it-accessible endeavors was the Fruitmobile, an art car that led to the annual Art Car Parade, which is scheduled for the weekend of May 11-13. If you’re in the area, check out the parade. If not, then check out the excellent documentary about The Orange Show (warning: link launches Windows Media Player).