What do you do when you have some time to walk around in a new city? If you are a nerd like me, you head to their library to ‘check it out’. And so there I was on my way to the library, taking instruction from google maps, when I looked up and saw a sign that intrigued me. The street sign wrote “Theater District”.
By this point, I had figured that Houston was not what I had caricatured Texas to be, but was this city so planned that they designated a whole area to theater? I had to check it out. And so I looked up from Google maps and followed the street signs.
Houston can lay claim to many things and that includes an arts hub. Located slightly north in the downtown area, this district is the epicentre of arts in the city. The Theater District spreads over 17 blocks and is home to 9 performing arts organisations.
A sign of an artistically relevant city is whether it is home to all forms of performing arts of which there are four sorts – theatre, ballet, opera and orchestra. Houston has resident groups and theatres in all these art forms. And these are widely considered some of the best performing arts groups in the United States. The Houston Grand Opera is the only company in the world to win two Grammy’s, two Emmy’s and a Tony.
Further solidifying its position as a centre of the arts is the fact that Houston is a key tour city for performing groups like the Rolling Stones and Cirque du Soleil when they go on tours.
The theatre district was badly hit by Hurricane Harvey and many of these buildigs had to be renovated, still they persisted.
Now those were performing arts, but arts is broader then performance there is also the expression of it through visual arts, and there aren’t too many cities with fine arts museums, as well as one of the largest quilting festivals in the world.
Even in the library, which is really where I was going, had a small visual arts exhibition going on. (I stumbled onto it).
The presence of a theater district sure wasn’t planned by the Allen brothers or the city administrators, but the city sure made good use of its assets.
ON THE MAP