It is only about 20 miles from Tombstone to Bisbee, but culturally it is a world away from the old west gun crowd. Bisbee is known as an artistic town, full of free spirits, having been named the ‘Best Hippie Town in Arizona’.
It was founded in the late 1800s as a mining town, and there is evidence of that everywhere, with the town situated in a steep valley with a 1 street commercial district, and houses scattered up and down the hills.
Many of the houses and commercial buildings have interesting architecture, but the crown jewel is the Art Deco Cochise County Courthouse.
When the mining eventually died out in the 1970s, the artistic crowd found the town perfect for them, with a fantastic climate, interesting architecture and affordability. Today the town thrives on as one of the destinations in Southern Arizona.
Smithers Park is an urban art oasis in southeast Houston. Named in honor of a couple folk art philanthropists, the park resides between a residential and commercial area, next to the legendary Houston folk art area known as the Orange Show.
The park has art from over 300 people, mostly self taught. The day we were there a few were working on their current projects.
The band shell was impressive, with an interior of mostly cut up road signs.
The mosaics are a collection of random materials.
All are very original in their design.
Bordering the entire length of one side of the park is a 400 foot long ‘Memory Wall’.
The surrounding neighborhood is predominately Latino, and as a tribute there is a ‘Day of the Day’ couple sitting at a table.
At first you think this is a small grass oasis, until you look closely and see the guitar neck in mosaic beyond it, and the grass is the body of the guitar.
Additional images of art on the Memory Wall.
A mosaic dog trying to get food off of the table, that itself is covered in mosaics.
Kilroy is here.
The Tiger mosaic is very impressive.
We end with a view of the back of the band shell, where you see it is a giant fish. Smithers Park is a great stop if you find yourself in Houston.
Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.
Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.
As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.
As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.
A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.
This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.
The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.
For some the audience made a good match for the car.
A Zombie car – because why not.
The Zombie car’s door art.
Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.
Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.
This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.
An aptly named 1957 Chevy.
A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.
While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.
There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!
As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.
Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.
There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.
I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.
Mixing classic art and hot rods.
Many had names.
Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.
Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.
Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.
All obviously have very steady hands.
The detail is amazing.
His shirt says it all.
It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.
This guy had great pedal cars.
Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.
Ready for St Patricks Day.
The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.
Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.
Each September IngenuityFest occurs in Cleveland. It is tough to explain exactly what IngenuityFest is, but their website describes it as ‘sparking creativity among artists, entrepreneurs and innovators of all types, through job and collaboration, in service to civic progress.
What that means is you will find music, lots of music….
Unique performances like a belly dancer will lit candles on her head….
A lampshade that looks like a cloud….
A lamp made out of an old drill….
Really cool art….
A room that you stand in front of a projector and it turns you into a stick person that moves as you move….(a selfie)
The musicians we heard were all quite good.
The octopus that ate the Terminal Tower.
These guys were demonstrating their robot that can paint lines on roads, but for this they were making a large painting on the parking lot.
Held in a hundred year old former factory (where Fuel Cleveland was held a few months ago), even the venue was re-purposed.