The Houston arts community is mourning the loss of one of its own this week. Johnathan Estes, executive director of the Southern Artist Foundation, died early Tuesday morning. Estes was well known for operating Montrose Proper Art Gallery on Westheimer and Kingspoint Community Art Lab, affectionately called "The Mullet," an art warehouse located behind Almeda Mall.
According to HoustonPolice.org, HPD patrol officers were called on Monday night in response to a shooting at 10900 Kingspoint in Southeast Houston. The victim, later identified as Estes, suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
Witnesses claim to have seen an unidentified individual leading Estes into the warehouse, followed by gunfire, and then two men fled in a silver vehicle.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Johnathan was a short, jovial man whose heart and efforts were constantly directed toward Houston's art and artists. He supported Autism Awareness through the arts and was a big supporter of graffiti and underground art and music in Houston. His friends and family remember him as a source of inspiration, who would offer a kind word or text on a daily basis, and would often bar-b-que and offer food to friends and strangers at the many art gatherings he held around the city.
I met Jonathan a few times over the years. I last saw him at Miller Outdoor Theatre earlier this year during the Juneteenth Celebration. He was excited to say that the Kingspoint Mullet had received backing from The Houston Arts Alliance, and he was in the process of registering the art space as a 501c non profit organization. He invited me to the Sept 20th Meeting of Styles event which he assured would be bigger & better than last year.
His friend Marie Elena Cortes remembered Estes this way:
He had the gift of connecting people and adding life to places that had no color. He envisioned Art Labs where artists could express themselves and be rewarded for their amazing talent.
Estes is survived by his two children whom he loved dearly. A trust fund for them has been set up at IBC Bank for those interested in donating. The account number is 1112965335.
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Friends and family are invited to Kingspoint Proper (10900 Kingspoint Rd Suite 5, Houston, Texas 77075) Friday night beginning at 7pm for a public memorial.
Funeral visitation will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Palms Funeral Home, 2300 E. Mulberry, Angleton, TX 77515.