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DAVID BEST AND THE TEMPLE CREW

THE HOUSTON TEMPLE

The Orange Show Center seeks to transform lives through the power of art and community. No artist better represents this mission than our 2024 artist-in-residence, California sculptor David BestBest is renowned for the immense “temples” he creates from elaborately pattered salvaged wood. Constructed all over the globe (including many of the world-famous Burning Man Festivals), these monumental public art projects are non-denominational sacred spaces that allow communities to express their deepest emotions: love, grief, joy, sorrow, celebration, and remembrance.

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The Houston Temple

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Rendering of Hayes Valley Temple, a similar project to the forthcoming Houston Temple

With the support of his “Temple Crew” of experienced assistants, along with collaborations from Houston’s neurodiverse and justice-involved communities, Best will construct a “Houston Temple” as a memorial to the recent passing of key members of Houston’s creative family. This will be the first temple Best has built in Texas.

A community build will take place April 3-11, with a public unveiling at the Legendary Art Car Ball on April 12. The temple will remain on view through November 2024, programmed throughout the year with weekly evening vigils, partner events, and individual tributes to departed community members. At the completion of the structure’s life, the structure will be burned in a public ceremony, releasing trauma in a spectacular and cathartic blaze. All of this activity will be documented and preserved within the Orange Show's archives.

Participate in the Build

Anyone join the Temple Crew and help directly with the construction of the Houston Temple! 

 

Three-hour shifts are scheduled mornings and afternoons from April 4 through April 11. Registrants must be willing and able to show up on time and stay throughout the shift. Tasks will be assigned according to registrants’ skills and abilities.

 

Please bring closed-toe shoes and a positive attitude! If you have your own safety glasses, gloves, or other protective wear, please bring them along as well.

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Support The Project

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By supporting the creation of the Houston Temple, you will not only contribute to the cultural landscape of our city but also play a vital role in fostering community engagement and healing through art. Your generous support will enable us to provide the resources needed to make this ambitious project a reality and ensure its lasting legacy in our community.

 

Your support will be honored through recognition on-site at our campus, online, and in all communications, as well as invitations to special donor events throughout the year. 

Experience The Houston Temple

The grand opening of The Houston Temple will take place on Friday, April 12th from 6-11pm in conjunction with The Legendary Art Car Ball.

From April 18 - November 6th, 2024, The Houston Temple will be open for public viewing every Thursday evening from 6-9pm. Admission is FREE.

Check back for information about accessing the site, and about upcoming special events, performances, and other programming at The Houston Temple.

About David Best

Born into a creative family in San Francisco in 1945, Best attended the College of Marin but his studies were interrupted when he was drafted by the U.S. Army and stationed in Germany. Upon his return he enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute where he earned his BFA in 1974 and his MFA in 1975. With his friend Larry Fuentes, he participated in the Institute’s annual soap box derbies, and his stylized vehicles were the logical extension of the sculpture he’d been making with cast porcelain and found objects. Selling his work never interested Best, rather it was the way it could be used to forge meaningful relationships with people in crisis: cancer patients, people with AIDS, and those with learning disabilities. Working together on art cars was an obvious way to build connections with people of various backgrounds, interests, and skill levels.

Best made his Houston debut in 1984 as one of the artists featured in “Collision: Independent Visions,” an exhibition curated by Ann Harithas at University of Houston’s Lawndale Annex that’s remembered as a catalyst for art car culture and a benchmark moment in the growth of the city’s art scene. In the decades since, he’s returned to the city numerous times, driving in several of the annual Art Car Parades and assembling the elaborate decorative façade of the Art Car Museum on Heights Boulevard.

Best built his first temple at Burning Man in 2000, "The Temple of the Mind,” a tribute to Michael Hefflin, a member of Best’s crew who was killed in a motorcycle accident a week before the event.  Seven more temples under David’s design and direction followed at Burning Man between 2001 and 2014, some rising as high as 120 feet. Additional temples have been built in Coral Springs, Florida with survivors of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and in Derry, Ireland with Protestants and Catholics who left their grievances aside to work together. In 2018 he and the Temple Crew spent a month transforming the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery into a temple for their exhibition “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.” His most recent temple, “Sanctuary," was built in 2022 in Coventry, England as a memorial to lives lost during the COVID epidemic. The Houston temple is dedicated to departed members of Houston’s creative community but Best stresses that the temple is a gift to the community which may extend its purpose to memorialize anyone’s individual loss.

The annual residency is central to the Orange Show Center’s art and education programming. It allows guest artists to create new work with the support of community and to share insight into their practice through workshops and lectures. Past artists-in-residence have been sculptor and musician Lonnie Holley (2022) and conceptual sound artist Maria Chavez (2023).

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