A crowd of whose who in the Houston arts community gathered last Friday on a very sticky morning for Mayor Anise Parker's official opening to the Houston Fall Arts Season. Held on the front lawn of the Menil, the purpose of the address was to give a preview of what is to come this year for Houston's robust art community and reflect on the success the city has seen in regard to its "Houston Is Inspired" tourism campaign, which has been running for several months now.
Opening the commencement was the Director of the Menil, Josef Helfenstein, who spoke on behalf of the "over 500 arts organizations" actively creating and producing art in the city. Helfenstein was followed by Executive Director of classical music company, Musicqa, Joseph Wilson. Wilson gave a sneak-peek into the upcoming installation exhibition "What Time Is It," which will open in downtown's market square on September 28. The exhibition is a collaborative effort between Musiqa and artist Jo Ann Fleischhauer that incorporates music and art with the concept of time.
After a brief reading by Houston's first poet laureate, Gwendolyn Zepeda, the mayor addressed the audience and previewed some of the upcoming art events that will take place around the city this season. Included in the mayor's mentions were the Alley Theatre's world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's comedy Fool, the Houston Grand Opera's American premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's The Passenger, Stanton Welch's 10th year with the Houston Ballet, along with the ballet's upcoming national tour, as well as the year-long celebration of the Houston Symphony's 100th anniversary under the guide of new conductor and Music Director Designate, Andres Orozco-Estrada.
By and large Parker's preview only highlighted the big name art organizations in the city, but she did mention the multitude of smaller organizations by citing that in the next 30 days the city will host 836 hours of live theater in 62 separate venues, 213 hours of dance taking place in 25 venues and over 27,000 viewing hours will occur in the city's museums.
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"We have a great [Houston Is Inspired] ad campaign," Parker announced, " but if we didn't have anything to back it up, it would be pointless."