Art House: A House on a Feel-Good Mission Pre-demolition
Another house to bite the dust in West U, but the Smith family, who own the property, are having the old home go down in unique style.
How? By encouraging others in the community to help paint the house with fun, cute drawings – perhaps a rainbow, a handprint, name or inspirational word – especially these days when all our spirits could use a lift.
The idea for the project came from 18-year-old Julia Smith. Like others in the community, Julia has created art with chalk on her sidewalk and driveway over the last few weeks. In big, colorful letters she has written thought-provoking questions such as, “What makes you happy?” and “What do you think is beautiful?” She quickly found neighbor kids weren’t shy to answer. Some of answers include: bike rides, family, pets and other thoughtful words and drawings.
Julia’s right-brain went into overdrive recently as she decided to invite those passing by to decorate the family’s soon-to-be tear-down house with paint. And with that, the idea of “Art House” was born.
Julia, a junior at St. John’s, says, “It was funny, at first, my mom thought I meant paint the house we live in, and she said – no way! But when she realized that my dad and I meant the house we are having demolished, she thought it was a great idea.”
A studio assistant at Art Mix in Rice Village, Julia hopes those families walking by the house or riding by on bikes might be inspired to leave their mark with original art.
“We all feel pretty stuck inside, and I know parents are trying to think of fun stuff for their kids to do,” says Julia. “Plus, it’s good to get out and get some fresh air and exercise.”
But not too close together. Julia wants to ensure painters obey social distancing orders to keep everyone safe, so she and her family placed signs on the lawn of the Art House, reminding people to not crowd together and do their art six feet apart. Plus, West U street artists must bring their own paint and brush. (No spray paint, please, the family requests.)
A love of art runs in the family, as Julia, her parents Creighton and Cristina, and three siblings have participated multiple times in the annual Houston Art Car Parade. Julia fondly remembers the first car they worked on. They covered an old station wagon in wall-to-wall rugs to create “the magic carpet ride.” This year’s Houston Art Car Parade was canceled due to the coronavirus.
Julia says, “Art is so important. It’s a chance for us to connect, especially during a time when we feel so disconnected. Painting this house can help bring us together.”
The Art House, which is located at 6004 Auden St., will be torn down in the next few weeks, so put your sample-sized paint cans to good use soon. That red paint might not have worked in the kitchen, but it would make for a great heart on the Art House – and help create a lot of smiles, too.
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