SMITHER PARK

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Smither Park is a creative urban space that has developed with the help of artists and friends.

 

Visionary artist and builder Dan Phillips worked alongside the late Stephanie Smither to design Smither Park in the memory of her late husband, John H. Smither. John and Stephanie were long-time supporters and collectors of self-taught art, as well as board members of The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Inspired by the Orange Show's philosophy of promoting and sustaining self-taught art, over 300 artists have contributed permanent mosaic masterpieces, and it serves as a testimony to the vibrancy and creativity of the city of Houston.

Located adjacent to The Orange Show, Smither Park is a great place to bring family, friends and loved ones for picnics, gatherings, and relaxation.

VISIT SMITHER PARK
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SMITHER PARK IS OPEN DAILY FROM DAWN UNTIL DUSK

Admission is always free. On Saturdays (pending weather), a variety of artists are at Smither Park working on their mosaic art creations. This is a great opportunity to see the artist process, and often help them out!

 

NOTE: Smither Park is a No Open Carry site. Pursuant to Section 30.07 we reserve the right to ask you to leave should you openly carry a firearm onto the premises.

 
 
ABOUT SMITHER PARK
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"It's wonderful to see what people can do when they let themselves go"- Stephanie Smither

A vibrant cultural asset at the corner of two of Houston's most exciting neighborhoods, Third Ward and East End, Smither Park is a work of art in progress -- providing a unique opportunity to see artists in action and the evolution of an international artistic destination.

Smither Park is a creative urban space that developed with the help of an entire community. Visionary artist and builder Dan Phillips worked alongside the late Stephanie Smither to design the park in memory of her husband, John H. Smither. Stephanie and John were long-time supporters of self-taught art, as well as board members of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Inspired by the Orange Show's philosophy of promoting and sustaining self-taught art, the mosaic-covered park serves as a testimony to the vibrancy and creativity of the city of Houston.

The half-acre plot of land is located adjacent to The Orange Show, and features the Lindley Fish Amphitheater, the Vinson & Elkins Pavilion, the Burguires, Hinton & Mathre Swings, the Marilyn Oshman Meditation Garden, an elaborate marble roll tower, and a sprawling 400-ft memory wall - each adorned with elaborate mosaic work created out of recycled and found materials and designed by local artists as well as community members interested in exploring their own creative potential. Over 300 individuals have contributed to the colorful and whimsical permanent pieces of art at Smither Park.

MEET THE DESIGNER

Dan Phillips was the visionary artist and builder mastermind behind the unique design of Smither Park. Throughout his life, he worked as an intelligence officer in the Army, a college dance professor at Sam Houston State University, an art and antique restorator and dealer, and a syndicated cryptogram puzzle maker. In 1997, Dan started his own construction company, Phoenix Commotion, with which he began his latest career of building low-income houses out of recycled materials as a self-taught carpenter, electrician, and plumber.​ Over 25 years, Dan constructed nearly 20 homes in Huntsville, Texas for low-income individuals whose labor and involvement he requires in the building process. Dan made each home using 80% of his resources from salvaged materials such as mismatched bricks, license plates as roof tiles, calf bones as kitchen tiles, corks to make bathroom floors, and frame corners to decorate the ceiling.

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Dan consulted with local professionals in the building industry to ensure that his designs and layouts are up to code while his wife Marsha would overlook his plans for aesthetics. Dan’s innovative and inspirational work is known and respected worldwide. Prior to his death in 2021, he was a frequent speaker at conferences and collegiate schools of architecture around Texas, featured in publications worldwide, and awarded many recognitions including the 2003 award for most innovative housing from the Institute for Social Invention in London, England. 

When planning the construction of Smither Park, it was not only Dan’s vast and inspirational visionary arts experience that landed him the job. Dan was a long time friend of Stephanie Smither and her husband John, whom the park commemorates.

CLICK HERE for an article in Texas Highways magazine chronicling the life and work of Dan Phillips.

For more information about Dan Phillips and Phoenix Commotion visit www.phoenixcommotion.com.

 
 
SMITHER PARK'S FEATURES

Smither Park is an outrageous, fanciful, functional play land that features a multitude of different, exciting and interactive features. Our commitment to sustainability and recycling inspires the  decorative elements by exploring the reuse and repurposing of materials like broken  ceramic, bottle caps, tiles, and sea shells. To date, over 300 artists have contributed permanent mosaic masterpieces to Smither Park.

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Lindley Fish Amphitheater

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The Memory Wall

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Vinson & Elkins Pavilion

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Burguires, Hinton and Mathre Swings

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Shell Plaza & Walkways

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Oshman Meditation Wall

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Johnson Marble Tower

SMITHER PARK DONORS

It is through the financial support of many individuals and corporations that Smither Park exists. If you are interested in becoming a supporter of Smither Park and helping to create a lasting piece of public art in the city of Houston, email Stephanie King at stephanie@orangeshow.org.

Mary and Dave Alderson

Carol C. Allbritton

Amanda and Robert Allen

Nancy Allen

D'anne and Steven Anderson

Debbie Anderson

Bill Arning and Mark McCray

Elizabeth Arnold

Laurel and Jeff Austin, Jr.

J Avant

Christopher Bacon and Craig Miller

Larry Barbour

Didi and David Barrett

Carole and Bruce Bilger

Amy Blakemore

Leslie and David Blanke

Laura Bodenheimer

Nana Booker and David Lowe

Allison and Reese Boudreaux

Judith Boyce

Beverly Braden and Edward Smith

Georgene Brandon

Barbara and William Brown

The Brown Foundation

Carole A. Bryan

Mary Jon and J.P. Bryan

Elizabeth Bunk

Alice and Phillip Burguieres

Bob Burleson

David Bynog

Courtney Carlson

Dorel and John Carter

Mary Jo and Martin Chamberlin

Zou and Boyd Cherry

Edwina and Bobby Clark

C.C. Conner and David Groover

Jayme Cox

Christy Cox-Ratner and Ilya Ratner

Susie and Sanford Criner

Gabe S. Cunningham

David Curcio

Carolyn and Platt Davis

Dawnalee

Alice and Robbin Dawson

Neva and John Dawson

Teresa Demchak

Karen Lubetkin Desenberg

Mary Beth Devlin

Susie and Joseph Dilg

Ellen Donnelly

Claire Donovan

Betsy and Robert Dorrell

Krista and Mike Dumas

Maudeen and Joe Eccles

Sandra and Gary Eiland

Margaret and James A. Elkins Jr. Foundation

Lynn and Doug Eller

Katy Emde

William Fagaly

Fran Fine

Joshua Fischer

Pam and Paul Frazier

Mary Anne and Charles Fried

The Gallagher Foundation

Nancy Garfield

Suzan and Julius Glickman

Erica Lehrer and Richard Goldman

Mr. and Mrs. Baron J. Gordon

Marilyn Gray

Amy and Tod Greenwood

Don Haley

Janet and Doug Hamel

Lynda Hartigan

Sally and David Harvin

Jesse B. Heath, Jr.

Mary Lou and Vernon Henry

William Hill

Barbara and Marks Hinton

Donna Jean Hobdy

Rebecca Hoffberger

Linda and Fred Hofheinz

Mr. and Mrs. John Holstead

The Houston Seminar

Eileen Cotter Howell

Carol and John Howenstine

Caroline Huber

Joann and Tom Hudgins

Mary Kate Smither Jeffries

Paige and Todd Johnson

Willard M. & Ruth Mayer Johnson Charitable 

Foundation

William A. Jones, Jr.

Lisa and Carl Jordan

Victor Juarez and Wayne Blosat

Linda and John Kennedy

Mimi Kilgore and Bertrand Davezac

Kerr Family Trust

Joyce and George Killinger

Dr. Peter Killinger

V. Scott Kneese

Yolanda and Bill Knull

Franny Koelsch Jeffries and John Jeffries

John Kolb

Weir Labatt

Moira and Tom LaFaver

William LaFuze

Sarah Lake

E. Michael Lallinger

Ann Langley

Ashley and Curt Langley

Linda and Chris Langley

Patricia and Thomas Langley

Doni Langlois

Tracy Levit Larner and Glen Larner

Rhea and Ron Latta

M.S. Lawson

Victoria and Marshall Lightman

Cherie and John Lindley

Charmaine  Locke and James Surls

Elizabeth and Andy Lockwood

MF and DJ Lollar

Belva and Cecil Lott

Sylvia and Warren Lowe

Dr. Herbert M. Loyd

Madden CC LLC

Don Mafrige Jr.

James Magee

Peter Mahaffey

John Maida, Jr.

Elisa and Paul Marchand

Marlene Marker

Katherine and J. Clark Martin

Lynn Mathre and Stewart O'Dell

Jere and Robert McCann

Janet and Louis McCarter

Elizabeth and Cliff McDaniel

Jarrel McDaniel

Marion E. McDaniel, Jr.

Sara and Andrew A. Merryman

Janet Meyer

Donna Milstein

Dixon Montague

Karen and Robert L. Moore

Sara Morgan

Donna Morris

Amy and Todd Mueller

Susan B. Mullis

Dennis Murphree

Mary and Craig Murray

Donna Neal

Carol and David Neuberger

R. Sells Neuhaus

Maureen O'Driscoll-Levy

Stephen Oden

Judy and Bob Oliver

Ann and William Oppenhimer

Marilyn Oshman

Dr. S.S. Osterberg

Karen and John Oswalt

Crystal and Donald Owens

Aaron Parazette

Bronwen Parker

Denise Patrick

Diane H. and James D. Patterson

Karen S. White

Martha and David Peterson

Sharon Plummer

Pamela Ponder

The Powell Foundation

Ann and William Price

Jan and David Redford

James A. Reeder

Jo Reid

Alan Robin

Ann and Jeffrey Rochelle

Puddin and Jerry A. Rochelle

Anna Senechal Rodgers and Colin Rodgers

Martha Kay Roland

Elsa Ross

Bruce Ruzinsky

Jim Sanders

Louisa Sarofim

Joyce and Arthur Schecter

Robert Schick

Shadywood Foundation

Carol and Ralph Sharpe

Dan and Martie Shelton

Montie Shelton

Suzy Sklar Simons

S K Foundation

Leona and Gerald Slaton

Shadow Sloan

Ann and David Smith

Martha and Frank Smith

Gertrude Smither

Kathleen Smither

Murray Smither

Stephanie Smither

Wilbur L. Smither, III

Ann Long and William H. Spencer III

Sally Sprout

Dennis Starks

Thomas G. Stevens

Mike Stude

Lorelei and Tom Sullivan

Anita and Walter Taylor

Tellepsen Builders, L.P.

Nancy Thoman

Raybourne Thompson, Jr.

Martha and William Thorsell

Emily Todd

Martha Claire Tompkins

Jo Lynn Beeler Towns

Naomi R. True

Toni VanZant

Mary Jane Victor

Sue and George Viener

Frank Vlahakos

Jackie and Bass Wallace

Charlie Walton

Martha and D. Gibson Walton

Julie and Bruce Webb

Linda and William Weiland

Kay and Honorable Ewing Werlein

Christine and Ramon West

Sarah and Larry West

Debbie Wetmore

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Earl White, Jr.

C. Michael Williams III

The Williams Company, Inc.

Edith Williams and Thomas Smith

John TS Williams

Clint Willour

Frazier Wilson

Kathryn and Thomas Wilson

W. McClellan Woodward

Janet Wren

Marie and J. Lanier Yeates

Nicole and David Zarr