July 21, 2005

Finding a Home and Making Friends of the Arts

Now that I'm in Houston on the computer eight hours a day, linked via the virtual world to endless webs of information, I find myself constantly surfing. Add to the mix Stephen being away in Scotland for a week and you have the perfect recipe for becoming a hermit. Walk out your front door, you say, and meet some living souls. But where to go?

I started by consulting Houston City Search which, in San Francisco, features all the typical mainstream stuff - best sushi, espresso, shopping, sporting events. Same story for Houston. But an unexpected listing caught my attention Radio Music Theater's Just Shut Up and Drive. I visited their website and was immediately reminded of my favorite San Francisco-based improv group True Fiction Magazine. So, I following the instructions I got in my car, pulled out of the garage into the daily rainstorm and drove.

To my surprise the theater is located close to our house and is nestled in a strip mall of seemingly characterless shops. (That’s my jaded San Francisco voice speaking out.) Dodging water balloon sized rain pellets I ran from my car into the theater’s box office and immediately felt at home. The box office manager and I chatted about the weather, living in Houston and why in the world I would move here from California. (Even here people can’t understand why I would relocate to Houston, and I thought it was a San Francisco thing.) Only six hours until curtain and my date with myself.

Once back out on the puddle spotted sidewalk I took a look inside the window of the adjoining business. An art gallery. Must be that cheesy Thomas Kinkade stuff to be located in a strip mall (there goes that San Francisco voice again). Why not venture inside? I opened the door, took a step in and again had that magical feeling of comfort.

Oliver Goldesberry, co-owner of Goldesberry Gallery with his wife Nancy, greeted me and immediately apologized for the leaking roof. Apologize, but why? I was instantly drawn into by the quality glass artwork to remember the rain. Better yet, Oliver was approachable, friendly, didn’t look down his nose at me and was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt. This was so unlike the snooty San Francisco galleries that I was certain it was a struggling nonprofit. Incorrect again (there goes the last breath of my jaded San Francisco voice.)

Featuring the work of 13 glass artists from the west coast the pieces transcended the standard pretty glasswork that you see in so many galleries. From works that look like wood and metal to whimsical miniatures the artwork was innovative, aesthetically pleasing and comfortably priced.

The work of Karen Woodward tickled my fancy. A series of wall mounted 3”x6” boxes each featured a set of miniature glass characters. With titles like “The Caffeine Addicts, Cotton Candy Man, the Grumpy Candy Corn, and the Little Yellow Dude and Chicken Smuggler you just had to laugh. I needed some new friends in my life and searched for a grouping that I could keep me cheered as I spent my days on the computer.

I’ve purchased very few pieces of artwork and when I do it is because something triggers inside me. Maybe for some people that trigger inside is saying “good investment” or “my friends will be so impressed” or “it matches the couch”. For me it stirs up emotions. Karen Woodward’s work made me happy. Meet Green Wizard Story . They are continuing to live at the gallery until the show ends on August 6 when the wizard and friends will be joining me at home.