Last night, Art Attack swung by The Heritage Society for the opening of its latest exhibition, "Blues in All Its Colors." The exhibit is a collection of art and artifacts chronicling Houston's colorful blues history.
The moment we walked through the door, we were struck with the sweet sounds of Trudy Lynn wailing into the microphone. Lynn is a staple in the Houston blues community. She's been singing since the late '60s and, as we witnessed, still has got it going on. Milton Hopkins and the Hit City Blues Band backed her up, and a nice-sized crowd tapped their toes and sung along to familiar blues hits.
The exhibition is a collaboration between The Heritage Society and the Houston Blues Museum. The Houston Blue Museum has been getting itself off the ground for some time now, and this is their inaugural showing, if you will. As they do not have their own space yet, the museum intends on having these types of special exhibits in various venues around town until they can open a dedicated space. The Houston Blues Museum has been in collection mode up until now, gathering relevant items from collectors and artists who've contributed to the scene.
The collection currently on exhibit features memorabilia, personal effects and unique items from the Houston blues scene, some donated and some on loan. Upon entering the gallery, you are introduced to the trumpet Clive Owens (not the actor) used to play the blues. Owens came into some fame as the lead trumpeter for B.B. King's accompanying band. Above his trumpet and other memorabilia rests a framed proclamation dated April 23, 1999, declaring his birthday the official "Clive Owens Day"; Owens was 70 years old then.
Another glass case holds a collection of vintage blues and gospel vinyls from the 1950s through the '60s. The records are a representation of the original Peacock Records, which was established in Houston in 1949 by Don Robey. Peacock made several significant contributions to the blues, producing artists such as Big Mama Thorton, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Little Richard and Memphis Slim.
In the far corner of the gallery stands a knockout red sparkle dress worn by none other than Miss Trudy Lynn. The dress is joined by a pair of Lynn's shoes and several photos from her travels over the years.
In addition to the artifacts, the collection features numerous prints by artist Martin Miglioretti. The prints are digital color re-creations of vintage show cards of famous blues musicians. The posters are bright and colorful, bringing life back to the artists they so justly represent. Miglioretti originally created the prints for a group show at Cactus Music back in 2009, and has expanded the collection based on the positive feedback.
For this current show, the artists Miglioretti has captured are either Houston-based musicians or have made significant contributions to Houston's blues history, such as Sam "Lightnin" Hopkins and Pete "Love You Madly" Mayes. Miglioretti is a blues fan himself, saying, "In the world of blues Texas is king, and Houston is the jewel of the crown."
The Heritage Society's collaboration with the Houston Blues Museum's "Blues in All Its Colors" runs through August 5. 1100 Bagby. Viewing hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Free. For more information, visit heritagesociety.org.