Free for All: Emma Richardson Cherry, Children's Film Fest and Jon Read

After spending some 50 years in storage, a large cache of paintings by Houstonian Emma Richardson Cherry have gone on display at the William Reaves Fine Art gallery. The exhibit is our recommendation for Friday. A leading figure in Texas art from the time she moved to Houston in the early 1890s until her death in 1954, Cherry is considered Houston's first professional artist. The exhibit, ''Broadening the Texas Perspective: Rediscovered Paintings of Emma Richardson Cherry,'' includes some of her most important and beautiful work. There are a few portraits, such as her paintings of her daughter Dorothy and son-in-law Colonel Walter H. Reid. (The portrait of Reid was her contribution to the Texas Centennial Exhibition in 1936.) While she preferred to paint portraits, Cherry disliked having to paint her subjects as ''they think they should look'' rather than as she saw them. She often turned to still lifes and landscapes instead. (''With flowers, it is different...No artist could improve on their beauty,'' Cherry reportedly told a Houston newspaper in 1937.) Regular viewing hours for "Broadening the Texas Perspective" are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through January 12. 2313 Brun Street. For information, visit the William Reaves Fine Art gallery website or call 713-521-7500.

Expose your munchkin to this excellent series of well-done animated shorts based on the books by Julia Donaldson as part of the Best of New York International Children's Film Festival on Saturday. Celebrating the finest in children's short films from around the world, The Gruffalo's Child, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane, will be the centerpiece of this year's festival. When talking about modern children's classics, it always seems like The Gruffalo series gets left off the list. In Child, the daughter of the Gruffalo (half grizzly, half buffalo) decides to venture into the deep, dark woods to see if the Big Bad Mouse, the only thing her father fears, is really as scary as he says. Also on the screen are shorts about Japanese puppets traveling to Abbey Road to perform a ukulele cover of "Twist and Shout" and a cute little cut-out car race.

The festival starts at 3 p.m. at the Julia Ideson Library, 500 McKinney. For information, visit the Aurora Picture Show website or call 713-868-2101.

Better known for his work in the noise band The Wiggins, local musician Jon Read is also a passionate and dedicated artist. In addition to larger pieces, he's done all the illustrations for his own albums. His current plan is to build a self-propelled dark ride similar to Disney's It's a Small World... though knowing Read, a better comparison might be to a carnival haunted house. Domy is hosting an exhibit of some of the pieces connected to that idea with "Notes from the Dark Ride, our recommendation for a Sunday visit. Read's takes on religion and mythology in his creations are some of the best art being locally produced.

Viewing hours for "Notes from the Dark Ride" are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, . Through January 17. 1709 Westheimer. For information, visit the Domy store website or call 713-523-3669.

Jef With One F contributed to this post.

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